GM classroom

Prison Education Initiative

The Prison Education Initiative brings Bennington College faculty to Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a maximum-security men's prison in Comstock, New York. To date, the program has offered credited courses to over 30 students in the subjects of literature, social research, political theory, social psychology, math, and U.S. history, as well as tutorial sessions and a college preparatory course to increase every student's chance of success in the program.

I found the class both enjoyable and illuminating and have left it with a deeper appreciation of democracy, the concept of popular rule, and for political theory itself...Given the opportunity to be treated as a person and to be challenged has helped me to feel as I still have some value as a human being." – PEI student


In April 2014, a panel of educators convened at Bennington to exchange ideas and practical advice around the topic of what liberal arts colleges can contribute to higher education in prisons, and what that contribution can mean for both the incarcerated and for the participating colleges. This convening led to the creation of the Prison Education Initiative (PEI) at Bennington College, which launched in fall 2015 at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York.

This program responds to the urgent need for incarceration reform in this country. The 1994 Crime Bill withdrew all financial support for incarcerated students, yet the benefits of such education are clear: higher education in prison reduces the likelihood of recidivism and improves the ability of those released to find employment. Every dollar spent on adult college education programs saves the taxpayer between $4 and $5. Beyond recidivism, PEI is investing in additional metrics to better understand the broad impact of college education on prison communities.


PEI is a member of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison at Bard College, and is made possible through collaboration with the Incarceration in America initiative through CAPA, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, and Great Meadow Correctional Facility. The program is funded by Bennington College, the Harry J. Brown Jr. Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education (through the Second Chance Pell program), and other private donors.


ADG photos
Annabel Davis-Goff
Director, Co-Founder, and Faculty
Barn 208

About Annabel

call call 802-440-4388
DB photo
David Bond
Co-Founder and Faculty

About David

call call 802-440-4324
STEM coordinator
Andrew Cencini
Coordinator for STEM Education

About Andrew

call call 802-440-4468
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Aila West
Assistant Director and Administrator
call call 802-447-4267

Spring 2019

FLE 2001P: The Elements of Latin Grammar
Stephen Shapiro

LIT 2055P: Literature: Conrad and Nabokov
Annabel Davis-Goff

MAT 2003P: Patterns of Geometry
Timothy Kane

CS 2001P: Introduction to Computer Science
Andrew Cencini

Fall 2018

HIS 2106P: History of Thought: The Renaissance
Brooke Allen

LIT 2054P: Twentieth Century American Literature
Annabel Davis-Goff

MAT 2002P: PreCalculus/Calculus
Katy Schonbeck

Spring 2018

LIT 2053P: Beautiful Lies
Annabel Davis-Goff

SCT 2105P: Introduction to Social Research
David Bond

MAT2001P: Introduction to Statistics
Tim Kane

Fall 2017

LIT 4320P: The Victorian Novel
Annabel Davis-Goff

MAT 2000P: Basic Algebra
Katy Schonbeck

PHI 2000P: History of Thought: The Enlightenment
Brooke Allen

Spring 2017

LIT 2052P: Literary Allusion
Annabel Davis-Goff

POL 2113P: Popular Rule and its Discontents
Crina Archer

SCT 2104P: The Atlantic World
David Bond

Fall 2016

LIT 2051P: Literary Narrative: Facets of the Prism
Annabel Davis-Goff

PSY 4205P: SHHH: The Social Construction of Silence
Ronald Cohen

Summer 2016

POL 2101P: Introduction to Political Theory
Crina Archer

Spring 2016

HIS 2105P: The Founding Documents of the United States of America
Elizabeth Coleman

LIT 2050P: The Masculine Voice
Annabel Davis-Goff

SCT 2105P: Introduction to Social Research
David Bond

Fall 2015

LIT/SCT 2001P: Language and Thinking
Annabel Davis-Goff and David Bond