About Project Rebound

Project Rebound is a special admissions and support program for students impacted by the justice system, or transitioning out of prisons and jails. Operating within the California State University system since 1967, Project Rebound has helped hundreds of individuals earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Project Rebound has a proven model to promote restorative justice, reduce recidivism, and empower individuals through higher education. SDSU Professor Alan Mobley directs a team of faculty, staff, and students who assist Project Rebound scholars and prospective students. In addition to providing direct service, Project Rebound provides continuing students an opportunity to “give back” by collaborating on outreach, public education, and holistic justice solutions. “Traditional students will gain a deeper understanding of the causes and conditions that give rise to crime,” said Mobley. “Students will learn restorative justice practices alongside justice-involved students to find ways out of the ‘revolving door’ of justice system involvement.”

We are committed to meeting the needs of students who often face a wide array of challenges that have caused them to be left behind.

We strive to provide each student with the individualized support that they need to succeed. We also act as a liaison with services and programs on and off-campus and advocate for people on campus and in the community. Our work is dedicated to lifting up individuals and communities. After all, college grads contribute to increase community strength and safety!

A successful university education leads to enhanced self-efficacy, civic engagement, and social and global awareness; it enlarges the moral imagination and instills skills and habits that assist people in securing gainful employment and living meaningful, responsible lives. Project Rebound constructs an alternative to the revolving door policy of mass incarceration by making higher education more accessible and supporting formerly incarcerated students to excel in a course of study.

Project Rebound believes that every person has inherent value and holds the power of possibility and transformation within them.
Project Rebound believes that access to meaningful, high-quality, face-to-face higher education is fundamental to breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty, abuse, addiction, unemployment, and confinement.
Project Rebound believes that the integration, education, and leadership of formerly incarcerated people are essential to the work of creating solutions to the social crisis of mass incarceration.
Project Rebound believes that meaningful, high-quality higher education ultimately makes stronger, safer communities; we believe that public resources are better invested in education and other opportunities for transformation than prisons and punishment.
Project Rebound believes that community engagement is at once a right, a responsibility, and a means of empowerment; we aim to inspire all Rebound Scholars to be informed and engaged civic agents.

In 1952, John Irwin (1929-2010) robbed a gas station and served a five-year prison term for armed robbery in Soledad Prison. During his time in prison he earned 24 college credits through a university extension program. After his release from prison, Irwin earned a B.A. from UCLA, a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, and then served as a Professor of Sociology and Criminology at San Francisco State University for 27 years, during which he became known internationally as an expert on the U.S. prison system.

In 1967, Irwin created Project Rebound as a way to matriculate people into San Francisco State University directly from the criminal justice system. Since the program’s inception, hundreds of formerly incarcerated people have obtained bachelor’s degrees and beyond.

In 2016, with the support of the Opportunity Institute and the CSU Chancellor Timothy White, Project Rebound expanded beyond San Francisco State into a consortium of nine CSU campus programs. The CSU Project Rebound Consortium is now a state- and grant-funded network of programs operating at CSU campuses in Bakersfield, Fresno, Fullerton, Los Angeles, Pomona, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego[BROKEN LINK], and San Francisco. Since 2016, Project Rebound students system-wide have earned an overall grade point average of 3.0, have a zero percent recidivism rate, and 87% of graduates have secured full-time employment or admission to postgraduate programs.

Faculty Staff and student assistants


Dr. Alan Mobley

Executive Director
[email protected]


David Durand

Project Rebound Manager 
[email protected]


Tavo Vega

Outreach Coordinator 
[email protected]