Several college-in-prison programs across the State of New York recently formed the New York Consortium for Higher Education in Prison. Our mission is to support students in pursuing a college education during and after incarceration and to connect them with services and opportunities that will support their reintegration. In order to do so most effectively, we propose to build a network of collaboration across institutions that are currently engaged in providing high-quality educational opportunities to incarcerated individuals. The prison population in New York is the fourth largest in the nation, distributed across over 50 correctional facilities spanning the 54,500 square miles of the state. The scale of the system, its geographic distribution, and the practice of rotating prisoner location over time pose significant challenges to students inside trying to enroll in and complete degree programs. By taking advantage of a similar statewide distribution of institutions of higher learning, however, we propose to work together to provide continuity of college education to students incarcerated throughout the State of New York. Such work will entail effective coordination between the various colleges and universities offering prison education programs and stronger collaboration with correctional facilities across the state. It will also entail sharing best practices in effectively providing higher education in prison, learning from the challenges and successful problem-solving of others, developing ways to support new programs, identifying new opportunities to extend the reach of our educational programs, finding appropriate ways to showcase the scholarship of incarcerated students, and otherwise communicating to the general public the value of college in prison.
New York Consortium for Higher Education in Prison (NY-CHEP) – Established Programs:
Riker’s Island Teaching Project: Borough of Manhattan Community College
Vassar College Inside-Out Courses: Vassar College