Getting a B.A. behind bars

This week, the PBS News Hour offered a moving, two-part series profiling the Bard Prison Initiative. The program was started in 1999 by Max Kenner a student at Bard College in New York State. Kenner sought to restore a college education program for men and women incarcerated in New York State prisons.

Fifteen years ago, state and federal governments stopped supporting college education in prison. Kenner and his team believe that liberal arts education, rather than technical training, has the potential offer a prisoner not only marketable skills, but, more importantly, an opportunity for self-reflection.

Since 1999, 157 degrees have been awarded and there is only a stunning 2 percent recidivism rate among graduates.

Many students credit their philosophy classes as having the deepest impact on their transformation.

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You can read more about the Bard Prison Initiative and watch both segments from the PBS News Hour.


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