CAPA, Institutional News, Local Impact

Bennington Joins Consortium's Efforts to Purchase PPE for NYS Prisons

Bennington College's Prison Education Initiative (PEI) has partnered with fellow members of The New York Consortium for Higher Education in Prison (NY-CHEP) to provide protective face masks for all incarcerated individuals in New York State.

Stacks of fabric masks

The New York Consortium for Higher Education in Prison (NY-CHEP), a coalition of providers working to bring higher education to men and women during and after incarceration, will provide protective face masks to the entire incarcerated population in New York State.

In the spirit of partnership with the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NY-DOCCS), the prison education community has come together to create the safest possible environment for incarcerated individuals, prison staff, and officers.

"Over the past five years, PEI has established a strong relationship with our students at Great Meadow. We are happy to be able to help protect not just our own students, but all incarcerated individuals in Great Meadow and throughout the entire New York State prison system," said Annabel Davis-Goff, Director and Co-Founder of PEI. 

Rob Scott, Executive Director of the Cornell Prison Education Program, explained that this was not an initiative of any single program. “Leadership from the college programs wanted to see more protective equipment for the incarcerated population. We knew that we had the resources to make an impact so we approached NY-DOCCS, and we are grateful they agreed to team up and move quickly.”

This first purchase of reusable masks for the 43,000 incarcerated men and women in the state is an important step forward to help protect those behind bars. A local manufacturer in Waterloo, NY, is filling the order, and the consortium is glad to be supporting local workers during this crisis. Members will continue to work together at this critical moment to do all they can to make these communities safer.

“As the director of a prison college program who has also lived through difficult times in prison, I know it takes a whole community coming together to take care of one another. I am grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with the DOCCS and our college partners in order to help protect our students and all incarcerated individuals in New York State,” said Sean Pica, Executive Director of Hudson Link.