It’s not all that often we get the chance to post a strictly “feel good” article on here, so when one comes along I’m going to jump on it. This past week Harvard University’s renowned debating team fell to a surprising opponent: prisoners from the Bard prison initiative!

The team was comprised of members of The Bard Initiative, a liberal-arts program specifically for men and women serving in prisons throughout New York State. The program’s end results are the envy of many, reporting only 2% recidivism compared with national averages of eight times that rate. 

The issue up for debate was whether public schools “should be allowed to deny enrollment to undocumented students.” The prison team were not only successful in their rebuttal of the Harvard  assertions, but managed to stump the opposing team in the construction of their own lines of argumentation. The losing team was gracious and appreciative in defeat, stating that “There are few teams we are prouder of having lost a debate to than the phenomenally intelligent and articulate team we faced this weekend.” And while this particular win is garnering the greatest attention, it’s not Bard’s first; the team has been gaining traction and acclaim over the last year.

My sincerest congratulations go to Team Bard, and to everyone involved who made it possible. GO BARD!

About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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