Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Bard Prison Initiative



For over 12 years Carlos Rosario (above) was known as inmate No. 98B0620. Five days after his release from prison this summer the 35 year old husband and father of 4 received the Bachelor of Arts degree from the prestigious Bard College in upstate New York. Rosario's studies was made possible by the privately funded Bard Prison Initiative, founded in 1999 by Max Kenner (3rd image), and one of only a handful of existing programs of this kind left in the United States. Please visit http://bpi.bard.edu/



Writer Claudia Steinberg and I spent time with Carlos (who was also known as the inmate with the greenest thumb in the history of the New York State Department of Correctional Services) on the outside as well as with his fellow students and on the inside of Woodbourne Correctional Facility in upstate New York. The story, first published in German DIE ZEIT, examines why publicly supported education programs in US prisons were abandoned in 1995 and how society would greatly benefit from reinstating them. According to Kenner "a college education dramatically reduces the rate at which students return to prison after release and spreads the benefits of higher education into many of New York's most isolated communities " ... (photos © Stefan Falke for DIE ZEIT)








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