Language Partners was formed when EJP student Ramon Cabrales came up with a powerful idea. Observing that he and other bilingual EJP students were ideally suited to tutor incarcerated men in the general population who have low levels of English proficiency, he proposed that EJP establish a peer English as a Second Language (ESL) program. His idea became Language Partners, which was launched at Danville Correctional Center in February 2011.

Language Partners consists of the incarcerated learners, peer instructors, and University of Illinois-affiliated instructor-trainers. LP classes meet for three hours twice a week for engaged, interactive English as a Second Language Instruction. Peer instrutors do most of the teaching, thereby equipping themselves for similar work upon reentry.

According to Language Partners co-founder Orlando Mayorga, “Language Partners has given us the opportunity to give a little back while in prison.”

The current co-coordinators of Language Partners are Amber Dunse and Jim Sosnowski.