Correctional Education Provider Raises $5 Mil to Scale Tech-Supported Learning Across Prisons and Jails
Public-Benefit Corp. APDS, which currently serves incarcerated learners in 17 states, closes Series B round
APDS, a public-benefit corporation working to make quality education accessible to every incarcerated learner by leveraging edtech innovations, today announced that it raised $5 million in new funding during its Series B round. The new investments will fuel the growth of APDS’s programs across correctional facilities and equip the company to continue to advance its proprietary learning platform and content offerings.
APDS is the only dedicated correctional edtech provider that never charges incarcerated learners to use their devices. Their secure tablets have been used by learners in 88 correctional facilities, across 17 states, to participate in programs including GED preparation, English language learning, entrepreneurship and cognitive behavioral therapy.
“Education can transform our correctional system, mitigating violence within facilities, reducing recidivism, and providing pathways to employment for a group of people who have been historically cut off from the workforce. APDS was founded because we wanted to bring those benefits to every prison and jail,” said Harris Ferrell, CEO of APDS. “This fundraising round shows that the educational investment community recognizes the tremendous, untapped potential inside the prison system.”
The APDS Series B round was co-led by previous investors New Markets Venture Partners and ReThink Education. It saw the return of the Partnership Fund for New York City and Converge Venture Partners, as well as first-time investments from ECMC Group, New U Venture Partners, and Strada Education Network.
APDS’ Connected Corrections platform works with students and instructional staff to map out individualized education, rehabilitation, and reentry plans that scaffold up to the U.S. Department of Education’s College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education. Alongside in-person instruction, students leverage adaptive content, paced through formative and summative assessments, from providers including Paxen Publishing, Audible, and Advocates for Human Potential. Every tablet also comes equipped with resources like e-books, TED Talks, curated audiobooks, and rehabilitative videos.
To date, APDS’ tablets have been used safely and securely by incarcerated learners across the country for more than nine million hours of programming. Previous APDS students were more than twice as likely to pass the GED, and about 70% more likely to complete their post-release reentry plans, than their peers.