Prison Education Project

The Prison Education Program (PEP) brings Columbia courses to students who are currently incarcerated in local state prisons, as part of the effort to increase access to higher education for justice-involved individuals. At present, PEP operates in three correctional facilities: Taconic, Sing Sing, and Bedford Hills. Courses are offered in a variety of disciplines throughout the social sciences, humanities, and Columbia’s Core Curriculum. Upon their successful completion of the course, students are granted Columbia credit through the School of Professional Studies, which they can use to fulfill degree requirements offered by our peer institutions. To date, all the courses taught by Columbia faculty in Taconic and Sing Sing are organized through Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison.

Since the launch of the initiative:

  • We have offered 11 courses at: Sing-Sing, Taconic, and Bedford Hills
  • 120 incarcerated students earned college credit
  • We offered courses in the following fields: Columbia’s Core Curriculum, Anthropology, Philosophy, Shakespeare, Psychology, and Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • The program has received considerable media attention and has featured on the CBS’ This Morning

Over the next year, we will:

  • Maintain at least two courses per facility per semester
  • Continue to recruit new Columbia instructors and generate interest in the program
  • Work to establish a degree-conferring program for incarcerated students through Columbia University

In collaboration with Hudson Link, The School of Professional Studies at Columbia University, Department of Corrections, Mercy College, Marymount Manhattan College

To get involved or donate, please contact: Claudia Rincón.