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Prison Education: The Benefits To Inmates - And Everyone Else 


How A New York Program is Reframing Prison Education

By Courtney Subramanian /  Image courtesy

About two hours miles north of Manhattan, a group of young men meet weekly to debate philosophy and discuss composition. The curriculum is like any other liberal arts course, but the classroom is quite different from what most people experience.

These classes take place behind the confines of the Otisville Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in New York where many of its inmates are serving life sentences.

Otisville was the first to implement the Prison to College Pipeline (P2CP), a partnership between the City University of New York (CUNY) and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). Led by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hostos Community College, the initiative selects inmates who have high school diplomas or GEDs and are eligible for release within five years to enroll as students through a process that includes assessment tests, submitting essays, and sitting down for an interview — much like the traditional college application process.

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Helping Women Continue Their Education After Prison 


One Nation, Behind Bars Teaser Trailer 


Effects of Prison Education

By Martin Maximino Image courtesy

The United States has the largest prison population in the world, with more than 2.2 million inmates in federal, state and local facilities. Although the number of life sentences has quadrupled since 1984, every year approximately 700,000 citizens leave federal and state prisons in the United States to begin a new life. Moreover, the number of releases from U.S. prisons in 2012 exceeded that of admissions for the fourth consecutive year, contributing to a slight decline in the total U.S. prison population.

The professional and personal lives of these individuals after they leave prison show great variety, across different states and income levels. Many ex-offenders struggle to reintegrate into their communities and face significant challenges in re-entering the job market. In this context, recidivism often ensues: The Pew Center on the States suggests that perhaps half of all inmates released will return within three years. But the story of their life challenges typically begins even before conviction and prison time.

A 2014 U.S. National Research Council report authored by some of the nation’s reading criminal justice scholars notes: Many people enter prison with educational deficits and could benefit from education while incarcerated. Literacy rates among prisoners generally are low, and substantially lower than in the general population. Over the past 40 years, the percentage of prisoners having completed high school at the time of their incarceration fluctuated between

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Barton Community College


North Carolina Community Colleges PEP

By Christopher ZoukisImage courtesy

Name: Prison Education Program of the North Carolina Community Colleges

Associated Educational Institution: 49 of 58 North Carolina Community Colleges

Associated Prison: 80 Different Educational Facilities


Mailing Address:

No Central Mailing Address. Contact North Carolina Department of Corrections at:

North Carolina Department of Correction

Division of Prisons

831 West Morgan Street 4260 MSC

Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-4260

Phone Number: (919) 838-4010

Fax Number: (919) 733-8272

Email Address:

Point of Contact: Tracy McPherson

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