Event | College Behind Bars

College Behind Bars Screenings

College Behind Bars

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS, a four-part documentary film series, tells the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees and turn their lives around in one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the United States–the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI).

Shot over four years in maximum and medium security prisons in New York State, the four-hour film takes viewers on a stark and intimate journey into one of the most pressing issues of our time – our failure to provide meaningful rehabilitation for the over two million Americans living behind bars. Through the personal stories of the students and their families, the film reveals the transformative power of higher education and puts a human face on America’s criminal justice crisis.

It raises questions we urgently need to address: What is prison for? Who has access to educational opportunity? Who among us is capable of academic excellence? How can we have justice without redemption?

The series airs on PBS November 25th and 26th

COLLEGE BEHIND BARS is directed and produced by Lynn Novick; produced by Sarah Botstein; edited by Tricia Reidy ACE; produced by Salimah El-Amin and Mariah Doran; original music by Jongnic Bontemps; cinematography by Buddy Squires ASC and Nadia Hallgren.  Ken Burns is the executive producer. COLLEGE BEHIND BARS is a production of Skiff Mountain Films, in association with Florentine Films and WETA-TV.


Public Screenings from September 13 – November 19

Click for event links. Check back as new links go live!

9/13: Washington DC/Congressional Black Caucus 

9/19: San Francisco, KQED/ Commonwealth Club

9/25: NYC, Center for American Progress/ John Jay College of Criminal Justice

9/28: Los Angeles,  Justice on Trial Film Festival

10/1: New Haven, Connecticut – Yale University

10/3: Bedford, New York – Bedford Playhouse

10/10: NYC, New America Foundation

10/17: Los Angeles, City Hall

10/21: Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson

10/23: Atlanta, Morehouse School of Medicine Auditorium

10/29: Chicago, Malcolm X College

11/4: Boston, Showcase Cinema de Lux Patriot Place

11/5: Boston, Boston Public Library

11/7: Philadelphia, WHYY

11/12: NYC/Apollo Theater

11/14: St. Louis, National Conference on Higher Education in Prison, Hyatt Regency

11/18: Washington, DC, Ellington Theater, Duke Ellington School of the Arts

11/19: Baltimore, Parkway Theatre


Click this icon for more on how to watch College Behind Bars on PBS

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