Folsom Prison Programs Improve Lives Inside and Outside its Walls

By Christopher Zoukis Johnny Cash may have talked about time “draggin’ on” at Folsom Prison in his ’60s-era hit song, but times at California’s second oldest prison have changed. Folsom State Prison first opened in 1880 and has come a

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Nearly Half of Prisoners Lack Access to Vocational Training

By Christopher Zoukis In the ongoing discussion of prison reform, mass incarceration and reducing recidivism, vocational programs are often overlooked in favor of formal educational courses and other activities and programming. Maybe it is assumed that most incarcerated individuals have

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Pipeline to Prison: How the Juvenile Justice System Fails Special Education Students

Photo by Jackie Mader / Hechinger Report By Sarah Butrymowicz and Jackie Mader / The Hechinger Report Toney Jennings was illiterate when he was arrested at age 16. In the six months he spent at the Lowndes County Jail in Eastern

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The Amazing Results When You Give a Prison Inmate a Liberal Arts Education

By Jerry Adler / Smithsonian Magazine Separated by eight years, a dozen subway stops and a vast socioeconomic distance, Erica Mateo and Max Kenner had one thing in common growing up: They were no one’s candidates for most likely to

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Hudson Link for Higher Education

By Christopher Zoukis

Hudson Link is a prison-education program that was begun as the result of a direct request from prisoners incarcerated in New York’s Sing Sing who lamented the loss of government-funded educational initiatives and reached out to religious as well as academic volunteers associated with the prison.  After the government ended Pell and Tap grants for prisoners, many New Yorkers began to feel uneasy about the lack of education making it into prisons where it seems so desperately needed to transform lives and break the poverty cycle.  Founded in 1998, Hudson Link now enrolls roughly 250 inmates annually and has partners with other correctional facilities.  Photo courtesy www.hudsonlink.org

Hudson Link’s Program Range

While the initiative began with Sing Sing, Hudson Link now has programs at Sing Sing as well as other correctional facilities.  Currently Hudson Link offers Associates Degree-track coursework (at Taconic Correctional Facility) and A.A. and B.S. degrees in Behavioral Science at Sing Sing.  Other program offerings include college preparatory training, A.A. Degree coursework in Liberal Arts, and a B.S. Degree in Organizational Management (available at Fishkill Correctional Facility. 

The programs are run with the help of New York colleges and universities.  The Sing Sing Behavioral Science Degrees, for example, are supported by Mercy College which is known for its challenging program.  Mercy began working with Hudson Link back in 2002 and is now renowned throughout the state and has grown to become one of the largest programs within the state of New York.  The Liberal Arts coursework offered by SUNY Sullivan Community College is one of the newest programs offered by Hudson Link and is offered at the Sullivan Correctional Facility. 

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