On June 14, 2014, the Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, in conjunction with the national criminal justice reform organization Prisology, announced the latest installment in their Commitment to Change College Scholarship. This scholarship covers the cost of tuition and books for one federal prisoner to take one course at the regionally accredited Adams State University, a university highly regarded by most incarcerated students for their prisoner-friendly correspondence policies and recommended in both Education Behind Bars(Sunbury Press, 2012) and the Prisoners Guerrilla Handbook to Correspondence Programs in the U.S. and Canada (Prison Legal News, 2009).
This scholarship is offered four times a year to one federal prisoner who submits either an essay or a piece of artwork for judging. There is no entry fee to participate. Due to Prisology's significant reform efforts during the first quarter of 2014 -- which consisted of testifying before Congress concerning the two-point sentencing reduction for federal drug offenders and its potential retroactivity, and other non-Congressional outreach concerning clemency petitions and various federal sentencing legislation and initiatives -- this quarter's scholarship will be awarded to not one, but two federal prisoners: the first and second place winners of the current contest.
By Courtney Subramanian / NationSwell.com
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.