WGBH Boston Public Radio

College Behind Bars: Documenting The Bard Prison Initiative’s Impact On Prisoners

Listen here Lynn Novick, Sarah Botstein, and Sebastian Yoon on BPR | November 4, 2019

There are approximately 54,000 people incarcerated in the state of New York alone, and 300 of them are trying to get college degrees through the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI).

“College Behind Bars,” a four-part documentary film series that follows prisoners who become students through BPI, will air later this month on PBS. Award-winning filmmaker and director of the series Lynn Novick, producer Sarah Botstein and Sebastian Yoon, an alum of BPI, joined Boston Public Radio on Monday to speak about the films.

“I believe in BPI very much because when I was 16, I was an insecure boy, and I wanted power and wanted to feel loved. And then, when I went to prison, I became reduced to nothing. I went through dehumanization, hopelessness and terrible terrible loneliness,” Yoon said. “I felt no hope for my future, but then I learned. I got a liberal arts education, and it was liberating. I was able to think not only about myself, but my place in society, what my duties are and what I can do to better others and the society in which I live.”

College Behind Bars airs November 25th and 26th at 9/8c on PBS.

Listen to the segment here