Indian-American to Lead Prison Education Initiative in New York

Dr Nikhil Pal Singh, an Indian-American professor, is leading a unique New York University initiative to bring college education to the inmates of a medium-security prison in New York state. Backed by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, NYU’s

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Profile: Greg Fairchild, Founder of the Prison Entrepreneurship Project

By Charlottesville Tommorrow  An inmate in the Fluvanna prison system may be surprised to find a professor from one of the nation’s premier business schools leading a workshop on entrepreneurship– but this vision of self-employment can be one that transforms

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North Carolina Community Colleges PEP

By Christopher ZoukisImage courtesy

Name: Prison Education Program of the North Carolina Community Colleges

Associated Educational Institution: 49 of 58 North Carolina Community Colleges

Associated Prison: 80 Different Educational Facilities


Mailing Address:

No Central Mailing Address. Contact North Carolina Department of Corrections at:

North Carolina Department of Correction

Division of Prisons

831 West Morgan Street 4260 MSC

Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-4260

Phone Number: (919) 838-4010

Fax Number: (919) 733-8272

Email Address:

Point of Contact: Tracy McPherson

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Overview of PEP: the Prison Entrepreneurial Program

By Christopher Zoukis

A Houston-based non-profit, the PEP organization and its re-entry programs for male inmates released from prison are an innovative approach to reducing recidivism and helping men turn their lives around for good.  Founded in 2004, PEP effectively pairs newly released prisoners with executives, MBA students, and even politicians to form the basis of its entrepreneurial initiative.  Rather than focus on traditional prison education programs (i.e. liberal arts coursework), this program supports business and entrepreneurial pursuits. 

It’s All about Perspective

The people that created PEP or work within the program have a refreshing view of prisons.  They see them as a “storehouse of untapped potential.”  That perspective fuels the program’s success.  In fact, the PEP website goes so far as to suggest that many former prisoners they work with are already entrepreneurs; they just happened to be involved, oftentimes, with illegal businesses and practices.  Nevertheless, the organization seeks to capitalize on that seed of know-how or passion for business and to ultimately reshape it for legitimate entrepreneurial pursuits through mentoring and the development of both life skills and career skills.

Mission and Values of PEP  Image courtesy

The organization is committed to various tenets.  Its mission and vision can be found on its website; however, put simply, the group strives to provide people exiting prison with a fresh start.  Moreover, they embody the attitude that everyone deserves a second chance.  Professionals working as mentors in the program are also endowed with a commitment to service.  While they are leaders in their field, they also believe in the necessity to serve their communities.

That said, as new relationships are forged, all participants are encouraged to embrace qualities like integrity and accountability.  Working as an entrepreneur requires dedication and work.  The organization seeks to develop the tools that ex-prisoners need to rebuild their lives; participants are also expected to contribute a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn from others and embrace innovation and change. 

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