Max Kenner is the founder and Executive Director of the Bard Prison Initiative. He conceived of and created BPI as a student volunteer organization when he was an undergraduate at Bard College in 1999. After gaining the support of the College and cooperation of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, he has overseen the growth of the program into a credit-bearing and, subsequently, degree-granting program in 2001. In addition to organization management and program design for BPI, Kenner is responsible for fundraising and management of relations with New York State and the Department of Correctional Services. Here he speaks with fellow Bard graduate Deirdre Faughey about the origins of BPI, the college curriculum, and his beliefs about why it is a good idea to bring high quality college education to the incarcerated population.
Thank you for agreeing to talk to me about the Bard Prison Initiative. I can’t believe that you started this all while we were at Bard, right?
That is still true…
How did it all start?