a group of students with computers in a classroom mid-discussion


Growing Computer Science Literacy for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Men and Women in Bennington

Program Description

Restart is a collaboration between Bennington College‚Äôs Prison Education Initiative (PEI) and the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) at Bard College to explore news ways of using computer science as a vehicle for economic independence and community engagement for people in or returning home from prison. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation and operates out of Bennington, VT and Brooklyn, NY. See Press Release.

Restart in Bennington

Restart in Bennington is administered by Bennington College and seeks to broaden inclusion in the fields of computer science and technology among formerly incarcerated individuals in the Town of Bennington and surrounding areas. Additionally, the program aims to contribute to community regeneration by helping formerly incarcerated men and women regain dignity and connect with 21st-century educational and employment opportunities upon return to their home communities. This work recognizes and seeks to ameliorate the difficulties formerly incarcerated people often face upon return to their home communities, and is well-suited to the Bennington community, which is home to the largest population, per-capita, of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in the state of Vermont.

The program provides educational opportunities, space, mentoring and technology resources free of charge for participants to develop skills in the following areas:

  • General computer skills (Windows/Mac/Productivity Applications)
  • Advanced computer skills (troubleshooting/internals/maintenance)
  • Computational thinking and computer science principles
  • HTML/CSS/JS, web development, and database design and administration
  • Programming (Python, Java, C++, etc.) at all levels
  • Hardware and circuit design
  • Creative and artistic projects with digital media
  • Continuing education, entrepreneurial and job search skills in related fields

The Restart project operates a studio space conveniently located near the Four Corners area of downtown Bennington, and provides programming and events including:

  • Expert-led project/skill sessions (typically, 1-2 sessions per month)
  • Drop-in mentoring and independent/group work sessions
  • Participant-led projects and skill sharing

Restart has partnered with VT DOC/BEPP at the state and local level, as well as Bennington College and numerous local organizations and businesses to connect participants to resources and opportunities above and beyond the Restart program.


More information coming soon

Advisory Board

More information coming soon


302 South Street
Bennington, VT

Operating Hours

25-35 hours/week
(days and times TBD)

Contact Information

Andrew Cencini, Bennington College