College for Convicts
March 24, 2015
The U.S. Department of Education may explore the possibility of bringing back Pell Grants to prisoners, while a handful of state legislatures have considered changing laws that block prisoners’ access to college courses. There’s also a huge push from private foundations to demonstrate the successful college-in-prison models. Make no mistake -- there are
significant obstacles to securing more money to educate prisoners,
a population that has no political clout. That’s especially true at a time
when so many government programs are still fractured by ongoing
budget constraints. Yet there’s an important window of opportunity for
correctional education right now, and it's part of a larger movement to
improve the country's correctional system, advocates say.
George Chochos: Returning Citizen - Not "Ex-Offender" - Thrives at YDS
March 16, 2015
“What is the possibility of a person like me going to a place like Yale?” This is a question George Chochos ’16 M.Div. still finds himself asking on occasion. It’s a good question, since Chochos didn’t arrive at YDS by conventional means. In fact, a lot of people are asking this question and telling Chocos’s story. He’s been written about, interviewed, and cited as an exemplary story of overcoming great odds to achieve success.
How Prison Education Can Save Taxpayers Money
April 8, 2015
U.S. college programs for incarcerated students were largely defunded in the ’90s. At the time, this was seemingly great news for “tough on crime” advocates, but this year, a new debate has erupted out of New York
state. In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed an initiative to
both educate New York’s prison population and save taxpayers money.
Notre Dame and Holy Cross Educators Bring Knowledge and Hope to Westville Prisoners
March 24, 2015
The University of Notre Dame, Holy Cross College, and the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC), are working together to educate and provide hope for prisoners at the Westville Correctional Facility. The program, known as the Westville Education Initiative (WEI), offers male inmates the opportunity to enroll in college level courses to work towards earning an associate’s degree in liberal studies from Holy Cross. These inmates, who have demonstrated both an aptitude and desire to pursue studies in
higher education, undertake the same level of responsibility that Notre
Dame and Holy Cross professors expect from students at their respective
Timothy Cardinal Dolan Blogs About Attending BPI Commencement
January 26, 2015
On January 24, 2015, BPI celebrated its twelfth commencement ceremony. Fifty one students received Bard degrees. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, received an honorary degree and delivered the commencement address. He wrote about the experience on his weblog, which garnered national attention from
publications such as the Harvard Political Review
and the Sterling Journal-Advocate
With No Google, the Incarcerated Wait for the Mail
January 25, 2015
The New York Public Library recently started an Instagram series featuring questions that people posed to librarians in the days before Google. Apparently, librarians stored the more interesting queries for decades. As antiquated as the analog method seems, millions of people in jails and prisons with no Internet access still rely on librarians for answers that could be found in seconds online. Most questions - 84 percent,
responders say - come from facilities in New York state; the rest
arrive from all over the country.
America's Focus on Punishment Means Injustice, Inequality
March 5, 2015
From Oscar speeches to op-ed pages, our national conversation has finally focused on one of America’s most glaring affronts to democracy: our shameful record on mass incarceration. We imprison some 2 million people, more than any other country. In the name of justice, we have witnessed – and, with our complicity, perpetuated – countless, unconscionable violations of it.
Expert Advocates Freeing Minds of Prisoners to See Potential
December 10, 2014
The powerful impact that higher education has on incarcerated individuals was recently highlighted by Smithsonian honoree Max Kenner, founder and executive director of BPI. In his speech, he told the audience that by providing incarcerated men and women college educations, they become inspired and, perhaps for the first time, see their place in the world. Many felt marginalized, heard that higher education wasn’t for them or felt disconnected from society. Engaging in intellectual pursuit and finding purpose changes not only the individual,
but his or her relationships with family and the world.
The Amazing Results When You Give a Prison Inmate a Liberal Arts Education
In October 2014, Kenner was honored at a ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. as Smithsonian magazine announced the winners of the third annual American Ingenuity Awards. The awards recognize the year’s most amazing achievements and the innovators behind them.
Trench Democracy in Criminal Justice #3: An Interview with Max Kenner
December 31, 2014
Innovative democratic professionals are recreating some of our most fundamental institutions, shaping new democratic practices and struggling against the sometimes profoundly counter-democratic tendencies of contemporary American institutions. While their work is always in progress, their experiences hold value for anyone interested in democracy’s future. Max Kenner recently discussed BPI, its significance for both incarcerated and conventional students and for the faculty involved, and its long-term democratic implications.
Albany Times Union: A New Prison Equation
September 3, 2014
TU Editorial Board - Our opinion: We pay for inmates to
watch movies, but not to educate them? What’s wrong
with this picture?
Which is the better path to a productive life: Watching movies, or going to school? If you think that’s a no-brainer, you must not be following
New York politics.
An Interview with Bard Prison Initiative Founder and Director Max Kenner '01
Esteem Journal, May 30, 2013
Deirdre Faughey '00 interviews Bard Prison Initiative director Max
Kenner '01, who founded BPI while still an undergraduate at Bard.
Letter to the Editor – Harvard Magazine
BPI Distinguished Fellow Ellen Lagemann’s letter to the editor, published in the May-June 2013 issue, in response to the article “America’s Prison Problem.”
New York Time Op Ed: Gov. Cuomo's Bold Step on Prison Education
February 18, 2014
One of the biggest obstacles to reducing America’s enormous prison population is the stubbornly high rates of recidivism. Nationwide, as many as half of those released end up back in prison within three years. There are many reasons for this, and not many simple answers, but one solution has long proved to be both reliable and cost-effective: education behind bars.
What Can College Mean? Lessons from the Bard Prison Initiative
An article that Ellen Lagemann, BPI Distinguished Fellow, wrote in 2011, which has been published in Change Magazine
and the Spring 2012 Bardian
Carlos Rosado Earns Bachelor’s Degree, Plants Garden All While Serving Time
May 18, 2010
ABC News writer Emily Friedman profiles BPI alumnus Carlos Rosado following his release from Woodbourne Correctional Facility and subsequent graduation on the Bard College campus.
Prison, College, and the Paradox of Punishment
Crime and Punishment: Perspectives from the Humanities, Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Volume 37, 305-331
Written by Daniel Karpowitz, Director of Policy and Academics for the Bard Prison Initiative, this article explores the ways in which college in prison programs, like BPI, may intervene in the paradox of punishment that occurs.
Doing Time, With a Degree to Show for It
November 28, 2010
Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, former Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University and Distinguished Fellow of the Bard Prison Initiative, discusses her experience teaching for BPI and makes the case for providing college education to prisoners.
February 20, 2005
Ian Buruma reflects on his experience teaching Japanese history to BPI students at Eastern Correctional Facility.
For the Love of Learning
March 18, 2009
Bard College president Leon Botstein writes about BPI’s 2009 commencement ceremony at Eastern Correctional Facility, reflecting upon the irony that the liberal arts tradition of learning for its own sake, beleaguered in other arenas, thrives within the prison.
Out of the Ashes: The Rise of the Bard Prison Initiative
Rand Review, Summer 2008
A summary of a talk given by Max Kenner before a RAND Corporation audience in 2008. The Review considers the effects in New York State of the federal government’s 1994 decision to withdraw public support for college prison programs, which was followed by a dramatic rise in state spending on corrections.
Earning College Degrees Behind Bars
December 30, 2009
Beth Schwartzapfel reports on Bard College Professor Emeritus John Fout’s class “Nazi Germany and the Holocaust” at Woodbourne Correctional Facility.
The Bard Prison Initiative
Stefan Falke’s Eye: A Photo Blog, December 11, 2010
Photographer and blogger Stefan Falke writes about a BPI student who co-founded BPI’s organic community garden. The interview and photographs first appeared in the German DIE ZEIT. This blog provides a summary of the article along with a selection of photos.
Give Prisoners the Gift of a Whitman Education
The Pioneer, October 7, 2010
A student at Whitman College, a liberal arts college in the State of Washington, writes about BPI and argues for the development of a similar college-in-prison program at Whitman.
Marion Nestle Receives John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service from Bard Prison Initiative
At A Glance, News from the NYU Steinhardt Community, June 10, 2010
NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
offers a weblog on Dr. Marion Nestle’s acceptance of the John Dewey
award and her commencement address at BPI’s 2010 graduation
ceremony at Woodbourne Correctional Facility.
Locked Out of Higher Education
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, March 3, 2010
Garry Boulard writes about the current state of higher education in prisons and discusses BPI’s sister program at Wesleyan University, a
partner in the national Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison.
Making the Most out of Time Served: The Fate of Prison Education Programs
New York University’s News & Documentary graduate program looks at the history of college-in-prison programs in New York State and focuses
on Bard’s program at Bayview Correctional Facility.
Liberal Arts, Behind Bars
Inside Higher Ed, June 10, 2009
Kate Maternowski comments on the state of prison educational programming in the United States and the debut of BPI’s sister program at Wesleyan University, a partner in the national Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison.
A Dozen Amazing College Students
The Decembrist, December 5, 2003
Political scientist, author, and blogger Mark Schmitt writes about his visit to a "Civics" seminar at Eastern Correctional Facility, at which he was a guest lecturer.
The Bard College Prison Initiative
Education Update Online, May 2005
Nazneen Malik describes BPI and explains how, in the era prior to the
elimination of Pell Grant inmate eligibility, numerous studies of college-
in-prison programs demonstrated those programs effectiveness in
Justice as if It Mattered
Nathan Newman.org, April 22, 2005
Sociologist and author Nathan Newman blogs about his experience as a guest lecturer on Reconstruction and legal theory at Woodbourne Correctional Facility for BPI.
The Mid-Hudson Valley’s community magazine reports on BPI’s first commencement ceremony.
College Ivy Sprouts at a Connecticut Prison
November 16, 2009
An article featuring BPI’s sister program at Wesleyan University, a partner in the national Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison.