Bard Prison Initiative

Bard Prison Initiative The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) works to redefine the availability, affordability, and expectations typically associated with higher education in America.

Since 2001, BPI has created groundbreaking opportunities for college within America’s prison systems. These programs transform the negative impacts of criminal punishment and create radical inroads of access and opportunity to higher learning. Today, BPI enrolls over 300 incarcerated students full-time in programs that culminate in degrees from Bard College; it offers extensive support for its alumni in and around New York City; and, it has developed a nationwide network of leading universities and colleges to catalyze a transformation in the relationship between education and criminal justice in the United States. BPI’s newest initiative, the Bard Microcollege, expands yet further the scope and impact of this work, delivering high-quality liberal arts education to isolated communities outside of prison through partnerships with community-based institutions.

Mission: The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) works to redefine the availability, affordability, and expectations typically associated with higher education in America. Since 2001, BPI has created groundbreaking opportunities for college within America’s prison systems. These programs transform the negative impacts of criminal punishment and create radical inroads of access and opportunity to higher learning. Today, BPI enrolls over 300 incarcerated students full-time in programs that culminate in degrees from Bard College; it offers extensive support for its alumni in and around New York City; and, it has developed a nationwide network of leading universities and colleges to catalyze a transformation in the relationship between education and criminal justice in the United States. BPI’s newest initiative, the Bard Microcollege, expands yet further the scope and impact of this work, delivering high-quality liberal arts education to isolated communities outside of prison through partnerships with community-based institutions.

Through the COVID-19 crisis, BPI alumni, staff, and faculty have been posting reflections on the BPI Blog. Check out thi...
04/23/2020
Alumni Opinion: COVID-19 and My Dad - Bard Prison Initiative

Through the COVID-19 crisis, BPI alumni, staff, and faculty have been posting reflections on the BPI Blog. Check out this latest and deeply moving post by Alex Hall '17 : "COVID-19 and My Dad" #BPICommunityVoices #BardianAndProud #BPIBardAlumni
https://bpi.bard.edu/alumni-opinion-covid-19-and-my-dad/

Through the COVID-19 crisis, BPI alumni, staff, and faculty will be posting reflections about their work and response to the virus here on the BPI Blog. This is the fifth post in the series. COVID-19 has fundamentally altered the way we live. And my heart is heavy when I think about all of the peopl...

Please spread the word! The tuition-free Bard Microcollege in Brooklyn is now accepting applications for 2020-2021! Lear...
04/21/2020
Rethinking Education Virtual Lecture Series Presents: Saul Thorkelson - Bard Prison Initiative

Please spread the word! The tuition-free Bard Microcollege in Brooklyn is now accepting applications for 2020-2021!
Learn more about applying this Saturday on Zoom with BPI site director Saul Thorkelson who will talk about his research & also how to apply to this AA degree college program at the Brooklyn Public Library for fall 2020!
Email [email protected] to register.
https://bpi.bard.edu/rethinking-education-virtual-lecture-series-presents-saul-thorkelson/

Join us on Zoom to Learn About the Bard at Brooklyn Microcollege and how to apply for 2020-2021! Saturday, April 25th 2020 4:00-5:00 PM Please email [email protected] to register for the Zoom link Go here to learn more about the Bard Microcolleges and here to learn more about how to apply.

#BPIBardStudent Kenneth Hogan describes firsthand in this Guardian article what it's like to be in prison and dealing wi...
04/16/2020
I'm in prison. I may never get to see my family again due to coronavirus | Kenneth Hogan

#BPIBardStudent Kenneth Hogan describes firsthand in this Guardian article what it's like to be in prison and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/10/us-prisons-coronavirus-conditions-healthcare

We remain deeply concerned about BPI students and all incarcerated people. Last month, our ED @maxkenner coauthored this letter to state leaders urging mass releases, which you can read here: https://bpi.bard.edu/appeal-to-governor-cuomo/

There is a mood of unease gripping the inmates. The unspoken fear is many of us will die alone in our cells without access to proper medical treatment

“There’s an assumption that prison did something for me — no. Bard College did something for me.” - Dyjuan Tatro '18#Bar...
04/16/2020
Dyjuan Tatro of ‘College Behind Bars’ talks education reform for prisons - Bard Prison Initiative

“There’s an assumption that prison did something for me — no. Bard College did something for me.” - Dyjuan Tatro '18

#BardianAndProud

https://bpi.bard.edu/press-clip/dyjuan-tatro-of-college-behind-bars-talks-education-reform-for-prisons/

More often than not, incarcerated persons are viewed negatively in society. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick‘s documentary, College Behind Bars, is striving to change that narrative. “Inside the walls of a classroom, you escape the walls of a cell — and you become an individual again,” says Shawnta...

Sending a Happy Easter to all who celebrate! Our community comprises people of all faiths; this year, let everyone keep ...
04/12/2020
Easter Message from Cardinal Dolan - Bard Prison Initiative

Sending a Happy Easter to all who celebrate!
Our community comprises people of all faiths; this year, let everyone keep faith that we will be together soon to celebrate the power of education and the value of freedom for all people.
BPI Easter Message:
https://bpi.bard.edu/easter-message-from-cardinal-dolan/

“A classical liberal arts education, which Bard College and the Bard Prison Initiative provides, is saying we are liberated from being shackled by the “out there” and when we look within you see a whole realm of existence and life. Where you live, how long your sentence is, what you may have d...

Please share far and wide: TODAY the Bard Microcollege in Brooklyn is hosting its "Rethinking Education" lecture series ...
04/07/2020
Rethinking Education Virtual Lecture Series Presents: Gabriel N. Mendes - Bard Prison Initiative

Please share far and wide: TODAY the Bard Microcollege in Brooklyn is hosting its "Rethinking Education" lecture series on Zoom with BPI Public Health director Gabriel Mendes talking about his research on Harlem’s Lafargue Mental Hygiene Clinic (1946-58) as a prism through which to consider novel ways of thinking about mental health, race, and the substance of citizenship. Come for the research, stay to learn how to apply to this tuition-free college in Brooklyn!
https://bpi.bard.edu/rethinking-education-virtual-lecture-series-presents-gabriel-n-mendes/

Join us on Zoom to Learn About the Bard at Brooklyn Micrcollege and how to APPLY for 2020-2021!   Tuesday, April 7th 2020 4:30-5:30 PM Please email microcollege.bard.edu to register for the Zoom link Gabriel N. Mendes is Director of Public Health Programs for the Bard Prison Initiative. He is a sch...

Next up in our Alumni Opinion series, #BPIBardAlumna Trish Howard '15 discusses her Public Health Fellow research on hou...
04/07/2020
Alumni Opinion: Disaster Preparedness in NYC’s Transitional Housing and Shelters - Bard Prison Initiative

Next up in our Alumni Opinion series, #BPIBardAlumna Trish Howard '15 discusses her Public Health Fellow research on housing insecurity and disaster preparedness. Howard urges the inclusion of vulnerable communities in the planning and preparation process.

"In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic we must work collectively so that the most vulnerable populations do not bear a disproportionate burden. It is at the crossroads of public health and disaster/emergency management that my education and experience have prepared me to contribute to efforts to alleviate that burden."

#BPICommunityVoices #BardianAndProud
https://bpi.bard.edu/disaster-preparedness-in-nycs-transitional-housing-and-shelters/

Emergency and disaster planning professionals commonly recognize the necessity of community participation in research, policy implementation, and practices promoting effective disaster preparedness. This is particularly essential for institutions serving society’s most vulnerable populations: thos...

We continue to stay in close contact with our supporters about BPI's activities with and for students & alumni across ou...
04/02/2020
Weathering the Storm - Bard Prison Initiative

We continue to stay in close contact with our supporters about BPI's activities with and for students & alumni across our community in the face of COVID-19. If you haven't signed up for our newsletter to receive the latest updates, you can do so here:
https://bpi.bard.edu/weathering-the-storm/

Dear Friends, Two weeks ago today was the last day BPI was physically in the prisons — our longest hiatus in 20 years. Immediately, there was more work to do than ever. Facing a crisis, we rallied quickly. With colleagues around the state, we began advocating for the protection of those incarcerat...

This Passover, the BPI Haggadah supplement is particularly timely as people of all faiths will reflect on questions of f...
04/01/2020
Still Behind Bars: Education and the Meaning of Freedom - A Passover Haggadah Supplement - Bard Prison Initiative

This Passover, the BPI Haggadah supplement is particularly timely as people of all faiths will reflect on questions of freedom and justice. If you are in search of a Haggadah supplement for this moment, check it out.
Here’s to building a safer, fairer world when we get back together soon.

https://bpi.bard.edu/still-behind-bars-education-and-the-meaning-of-freedom-a-passover-haggadah-supplement/

Dear Friends, In 2014, BPI created a Haggadah supplement in partnership with Rev. Vivian Nixon, Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts II, Bard President Leon Botstein, and author Anya Kamenetz. Over the years, we have been delighted by the response and, following many requests, are pleased to share it with you a...

04/01/2020

Heads up:
TOMORROW BPI alum Dyjuan Tatro '18 is taking over the Bard Prison Initiative Instagram and Facebook accounts to go live and talk #collegebehindbars, #collegeinprison, & #cjreform.
Thursday, April 2 at 6PM EST on IG and FB. Follow us across all social media platforms and tune in tomorrow!

As the BPI community continues to pull together in the face of the growing health crisis in NY, tonight BPI's Public Hea...
03/30/2020
Faculty Opinion: Pandemics, Prisons, and Public Health - Bard Prison Initiative

As the BPI community continues to pull together in the face of the growing health crisis in NY, tonight BPI's Public Health Senior Advisor Bob Fullilove will host a Zoom conversation with BPI alumni to discuss #COVID19. If you are an alum and have not received an invitation, please DM us!
Dr. Fullilove also penned this opinion piece for the #BPIBlog, up today! Check it out: https://bpi.bard.edu/faculty-opinion-pandemics-prisons-and-public-health/

Dr. Bob Fullilove has been Senior Advisor, Public Health Program at BPI for 10 years. He also is the Associate Dean, Community and Minority Affairs at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He will be reflecting on the COVID-19 crisis in this space periodically.   The 1918 Spanish...

College Behind Bars was lifted up this week by the NYT as must-see TV!Every week, the New York Times makes television vi...
03/28/2020
How Much Watching Time Do You Have This Weekend?

College Behind Bars was lifted up this week by the NYT as must-see TV!

Every week, the New York Times makes television viewing and streaming recommendations for the upcoming weekend. This week, with many at home watching for pleasure, distraction, or the prospect of finding uplifting content, they recommended College Behind Bars, now streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime. 🎉

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/arts/television/shaun-sheep-amy-sedaris-netflix.html

Learn more about how to watch here: https://bpi.bard.edu/college-behind-bars/

Take a break, steer into the skid, keep hanging on: Our TV critic has some great recommendations.

Through the #COVID19 crisis, #BPIBardAlumni will be posting reflections about their work and response to the virus on th...
03/27/2020
Alumni Opinion: Immediate Action Needed for people in NY Jails and Prisons - Bard Prison Initiative

Through the #COVID19 crisis, #BPIBardAlumni will be posting reflections about their work and response to the virus on the BPI Blog. Up first, Darren Mack '13 of Just Leadership USA urges immediate action to protect incarcerated people in NY prisons and jails.
#BardianAndProud
https://bpi.bard.edu/alumni-op-ed-immediate-action-needed-for-people-in-ny-jails-and-prisons/

Through the COVID-19 crisis BPI alumni will be posting reflections about their work and response to the virus here. This is the first in a series. By Darren Mack, ’13 Jails and prisons are hotbeds for the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing and self-isolation for the incarcerated population i...

03/26/2020

“What if the solution was the person you thought was the problem?”
#BPIBardAlumni are change-makers and problem solvers in their communities in fields such as public health and beyond. We need their leadership now more than ever.
Learn more at bpi.bard.edu

Last week Max Kenner joined leaders of a dozen other CJ orgs in New York — all members of the Governor’s Reentry Council...
03/26/2020
Appeal to Governor Cuomo - Bard Prison Initiative

Last week Max Kenner joined leaders of a dozen other CJ orgs in New York — all members of the Governor’s Reentry Council — urging NY Governor Cuomo to use his power and preempt a #COVID19 crisis within the state prison system. Read the letter here: https://bpi.bard.edu/appeal-to-governor-cuomo/

On March 20th, our executive director joined leaders of a dozen other criminal justice agencies in New York — all members of the Governor’s Reentry Council — urging Governor Cuomo to use his power and preempt a COVID crisis within the state prison system. See below. March 20, 2020 To Governor ...

BPI remains in close communication with #BPIBardAlumni and current #BPIBardStudents in the face of this pandemic. Today ...
03/17/2020
Health and Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Bard Prison Initiative

BPI remains in close communication with #BPIBardAlumni and current #BPIBardStudents in the face of this pandemic. Today we shared a host of emerging resources for alumni that the team has been putting together including for anyone experiencing housing insecurity, guidance on self-isolation, staff contact info, and this resource on COVID-19, which Gabriel Mendes, BPI Director of Public Health Programs, will continue to update as more information becomes available and circumstances shift.
If you are an alum who is not receiving these messages in email or text and would like to, please DM us here!
https://bpi.bard.edu/bpi-public-health-resources-on-covid-19/

For nearly a decade, BPI has been committed to engaging public health as a rewarding area of academic study and a promising career field, ripe for the contributions our alumni are uniquely positioned to make. As we are currently in the midst of a global public health crisis spawned by the novel coro...

03/16/2020

Out of concern for the health & well-being of BPI students & all people incarcerated, BPI suspended in-person courses in prison last week.‬
Read Max Kenner’s note to supporters & sign up at the bottom to receive updates from BPI as events continue to unfold. #StickingTogether ‬
https://bpi.bard.edu/sticking-together/

#CollegeBehindBars is now streaming free on Amazon Prime and Netflix!Learn more about how to watch this 4-part documenta...
03/15/2020

#CollegeBehindBars is now streaming free on Amazon Prime and Netflix!
Learn more about how to watch this 4-part documentary series about #BPIBardStudents directed by Lynn Novick and executive-produced by Ken Burns by going to: https://bpi.bard.edu/college-behind-bars/

#CollegeBehindBars is now streaming free on Amazon Prime and Netflix!Learn more about how to watch this 4-part documenta...
03/15/2020
College Behind Bars - Bard Prison Initiative

#CollegeBehindBars is now streaming free on Amazon Prime and Netflix!
Learn more about how to watch this 4-part documentary series about #BPIBardStudents directed by Lynn Novick and executive-produced by Ken Burns by going to: https://bpi.bard.edu/college-behind-bars/

College Behind Bars Stream it on Amazon Prime and Netflix Ways to Watch WATCH NOW WATCH NOW About the Film College Behind Bars, a new four-part documentary about the transformative power of education, which premiered nationwide on PBS, is now available on Netflix and Amazon Prime. College Behind Bar...

This morning BPI sent the following message to our supporters, announcing that we have made the difficult but necessary ...
03/14/2020
Sticking Together - Bard Prison Initiative

This morning BPI sent the following message to our supporters, announcing that we have made the difficult but necessary decision to stop in-person teaching in prison classrooms for the time being. Read our message here.
https://bpi.bard.edu/sticking-together/

Dear Friends, At BPI, our team takes pride in describing this work with language like proximity, community, and human touch. Yesterday, however, we made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend BPI operations within the prisons. The demand to ‘isolate’ contradicts every impulse. However, th...

#BPIBardAlumni were at Hofstra University last night for a screening of #CollegeBehindBarsPBS @hofstrau @dyjuan.t #bardp...
03/05/2020

#BPIBardAlumni were at Hofstra University last night for a screening of #CollegeBehindBarsPBS
@hofstrau @dyjuan.t #bardprisoninitiative

Admissions for the Bard Brooklyn Public Library Microcollege is now open! Applying to the #BardMicrocollege happens in p...
03/03/2020
Apply to Bard Microcollege at Brooklyn Public Library! - Bard Prison Initiative

Admissions for the Bard Brooklyn Public Library Microcollege is now open!
Applying to the #BardMicrocollege happens in person with essay writing sessions on several dates throughout April.
Applicants can sign up for a session and learn more here: https://bpi.bard.edu/apply-to-bard-microcollege-at-brooklyn-public-library/
#TuitionFree #highered #Brooklyn

Admissions is now open for the Bard at Brooklyn Public Library Microcollege. Program Director Christopher Perez wrote this letter below encouraging interested future students to apply! Good afternoon, In January 2018, Bard at Brooklyn Public Library, the first New York City Microcollege, welcomed it...

Congratulations to #BPIBardAlum Joe Williams who was honored tonight at the Annual Black Leadership Celebration in Brook...
02/29/2020

Congratulations to #BPIBardAlum Joe Williams who was honored tonight at the Annual Black Leadership Celebration in Brooklyn, hosted by Councilman Antonio Reynoso and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez in recognition of his work in the community.
Williams completed his Associate’s Degree with BPI in 2011 and his Bachelor’s Degree in 2013. Soon after his release he began coursework for a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University. Since gaining his LMSW in 2015, Joseph has worked as a social worker with Brooklyn Defender Services and with people in treatment for debilitating diseases. Today, he works in the Mt. Sinai Psychiatric Emergency Department. In addition to being an avid chess and scrabble player, Joseph facilitates a Young Men’s Empowerment program in Brooklyn and a chapter of My Brother’s Keeper at a high school in Queens.

In attendance at tonight’s celebration were several fellow #BPIBardAlumni and #BPIBard Executive Director Max Kenner.
#bardprisoninitiative #bardianandproud

Last night #BPIBardAlumni @israilsalih and #TamikaGraham joined a panel discussion of #collegebehindbars at Solano Commu...
02/28/2020

Last night #BPIBardAlumni @israilsalih and #TamikaGraham joined a panel discussion of #collegebehindbars at Solano Community College with @kviepbs

Repost from @wowena

#Collegebehindbars screening. The documentary is extremely powerful. @kviepbs @bard_prison_initiative #collegebehindbarsPBS #reachhigher #bardprisoninitiative #criminaljusticereform #bardcollege #TamikaGraham #SalihIsrail

Last night #bpibardalumni Dyjuan Tatro and Giovannie Hernandez joined the United Federation of Teachers for a screening ...
02/28/2020

Last night #bpibardalumni Dyjuan Tatro and Giovannie Hernandez joined the United Federation of Teachers for a screening of #CollegeBehindBars in celebration of #BlackHistoryMonth AND announced at the screening that this summer @bard_iwt will be offering a special workshop on teaching a writing-based curriculum around #collegebehindbars! Go to www.writingandthinking.org to learn more. #bardianandproud @ UFT - United Federation of Teachers

#bpibardalum @israilsalih was at @yalelawschool this morning to speak at the #reblaw2020 conference. #justiceimpactmovem...
02/16/2020

#bpibardalum @israilsalih was at @yalelawschool this morning to speak at the #reblaw2020 conference. #justiceimpactmovement #BardianAndProud #BPIBardAlumni @ Yale Law School

#BPIBardAlum #TamikaGraham spoke about collateral consequences today at the #NYSBAPRL. The American Bar Association has ...
02/16/2020

#BPIBardAlum #TamikaGraham spoke about collateral consequences today at the #NYSBAPRL.
The American Bar Association has identified over 40,000 collateral consequences that come along with a conviction. Collateral consequences are legal and regulatory sanctions and restrictions that limit or prohibit people with criminal records from accessing employment, occupational licensing, housing, voting, education, and other opportunities.
Proud to see #BPIBardAlumni speaking about their experiences and helping push change forward.
#BardianAndProud #bardprisoninitiative

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Bard College, PO Box 5000
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
12504

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