December 1, 2022 – Reading by Reginald Dwayne Betts at Great Meadow Correctional Facility
October 21, 2022 – Think Tank on Continuing Education in Prisons, part II
January 31, 2022 – Bennington College prison program awarded $60,000
October 1, 2021 – Think Tank on Continuing Education in Prisons
March 23, 2020 – Prison Education Initiative Awarded $50,000 from Ford Foundation
January 22, 2020 – Prison Education Initiative to Award Associate of Art Degree
April 6, 2018 – Computer Science and Prison Reform
June 19, 2017 – The Future of Higher Education in Prison
August 28, 2016 – Great Meadow Program is a Model for Inmate Education
August 21, 2016 – Books Behind Bars: Great Meadow Inmates See School as Second Chance
December 4, 2015 – Bennington Gears up for its Prison Education Initiative
In April 2015, 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.
Since PEI’s inception, more than 100 students at Great Meadow have taken courses in subjects that include literature, philosophy, social research, history of thought, architecture, political theory, social psychology, math, computer programming, Latin, and U.S. history.
Since 2020, PEI is also spearheading two initiatives aimed at providing educational opportunities to underserved prison populations. We are building out a more robust scholarly infrastructure to support continuing education among those serving life sentences (a group that comprises 15% of the prison population in America). In addition, we are also building out a new program of individualized tutoring to help bridge the gap between a GED and the expectations of a liberal arts classroom.
PEI is a member of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison at Bard College, and is made possible through collaboration with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and Great Meadow Correctional Facility. The program is funded by Bennington College, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, the Harry J. Brown Jr. Foundation, the William and Mary Greve Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education (through the Second Chance Pell program), and other foundations and private donors.