The Life Sentence: Prison Education After the Degree (Host Institution: Bennington College)


ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grants


Prison Education Initiative


Over 200,000 Americans are currently serving a life sentence. Most prison education programs terminate with a college degree. How can we make the humanities more accessible to those serving life sentences in the United States? What transformations might the humanities bring to this often forgotten population? This project centers literature and history as opportunities for those serving life sentences to deeply engage in inquiry, creativity, and human dignity. Through innovative curricular offerings and extracurricular programming, this project will overcome the headwinds of COVID-19 and develop a national model for opening the humanities to the unique needs and aspirations of those serving life sentences today.

This project partners with New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and the administration of Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, NY. This project also remains in ongoing conversation with the Bard Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison and the New York Consortium for Higher Education in Prison.