Dear Friends, At BPI, our team takes pride in describing this work with language like proximity, community, and human touch. Yesterday, however, we made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend BPI operations within the prisons. The demand to ‘isolate’ contradicts every impulse. However, there is now an imperative to… Read More
Reimagining the place of higher education.
A Passover Haggadah Supplement
Still Behind Bars: Education and the Meaning of Freedom
News and updates from the BPI public health community.
This post first appeared March 16th, 2020 and has been continually updated since then. For nearly a decade, BPI has been committed to engaging public health as a rewarding area of academic study and a promising career field, ripe for the contributions our alumni are… Read More
Dr. Bob Fullilove has been Senior Advisor, Public Health Program at BPI for 10 years. He also is the Associate Dean, Community and Minority Affairs at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He will be reflecting on the COVID-19 crisis in this space… Read More
Through the COVID-19 crisis BPI alumni will be posting reflections about their work and response to the virus here. This is the first in a series. By Darren Mack, '13 Jails and prisons are hotbeds for the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing and self-isolation for the… Read More
On March 20th, our executive director joined leaders of a dozen other criminal justice agencies in New York -- all members of the Governor's Reentry Council -- urging Governor Cuomo to use his power and preempt a COVID crisis within the state prison system.… Read More
Coronavirus A family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus recently discovered has been named SARS-CoV-2 and it causes COVID-19. COVID-19 The name of… Read More
By The Numbers
BPI in Action
Launched in 2012, the Moreau College Initiative is a partnership between BPI, the University of Notre Dame, and Holy Cross College. It operates within Westville Correctional Facility – halfway between South Bend and Chicago, IL. Admission is also run at other men’s facilities in the state, from which admittees transfer to Westville. Students study full-time in a liberal arts curriculum that includes theology, literature, history, business, biology, and mathematics.
Both associate and bachelor’s degrees are offered through Holy Cross College, while most faculty and extensive in-kind support come from Notre Dame. Funding is public and private, recidivism is low, and graduates go on to employment and further higher education across Indiana. In May 2019, the Moreau College Initiative held its 5th graduation, conferring both AA and BA degrees.
In spring 2019, BPI hosted the University of Cambridge for the eleventh intercollegiate debate at Eastern Correctional Facility. The BPI Debate Union emerged the winner of a lively debate about nuclear weapons, a team of incarcerated men defeating one of the world’s oldest and best-regarded debating clubs. The remarkable event was featured on the front page of The Washington Post.
The 2018-2019 academic year marked another milestone for BPI debate: the expansion of the team from one BPI site to two; the BPI Debate Union at Fishkill Correctional Facility had its first public debate in spring 2019, facing West Point cadets in a friendly match.
Darren Mack is a distinguished member of JustLeadership USA (JLUSA) and actively engaged in the #CloseRikers campaign. Among other awards, JLUSA honored Darren with its Emerging Leadership Award and featured him as a speaker alongside Glenn Martin, John Legend, and the Speaker of the NYC Council, Melissa Mark Viverito. Darren is also the recipient of a prestigious fellowship from the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Community Organizing Institute.
First enrolling with BPI in 2006, Darren received his Associate in Arts degree in 2010. Released in 2012, Darren graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies from Bard College in 2013. Darren is on the Bard College Alumni/ae Association Board of Governors and earned his MSW focused in Community Organizing & Policy at Hunter College in 2019. Today, Darren is Director of Community Engagement and Advocacy at JustLeadership USA.
The Bard Prison Initiative is a revolutionary program that provides a rigorous college education to men and women in prison. In one of our most power episodes ever, BPI’s founder Max Kenner and recent graduate Sebastian Yoon join Adam this week to discuss how… Read More
One graduate, featured in a new PBS documentary, shares the ups and downs of earning a degree behind bars. In the fall of 2015, a maximum-security prison in New York invited Harvard’s debate team to compete against a squad of three incarcerated men. The men,… Read More
By Alexander Hall Opinion Contributor Alexander Hall is a housing associate with the Bard Prison Initiative. When my day begins with my phone buzzing 10 times in a row, it’s usually a bad sign. This time was different. My friends were going wild because a follow-up story… Read More
A new PBS documentary series follows prisoners who earn college degrees while serving time. Director Lynn Novick and graduates Sebastian Yoon and Dyjuan Tatro talk about how the program changes lives. Read More
Anyone looking for something to watch over the Thanksgiving Holidays would do well to check out the inspiring and fascinating “College Behind Bars,” airing on PBS stations on November 25th. An extended trailer can be viewed here. The show focuses on one particular college-in-prison… Read More
In 2015 the story of the Bard Prison Initiative Debate Union's win over Harvard became a global news story. Leslie Brody of the Wall Street Journal, who was there for the debate, first broke the story. Now, four years later, Brody reunited with the… Read More