By Alex Bazeley
NYU launched its Prison Education Program to give those incarcerated at the Wallkill Correctional Facility access to a college education, the university announced Monday. The program, backed by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, currently has 36 incarcerated individuals enrolled.
Wallkill Correctional Facility is a medium security prison for males located in the Hudson Valley. Rolled out for the Spring 2015 semester, PEP currently has two courses available with the possibility of an additional four during the summer of 2015. Following their release from prison, students may choose to continue their education at NYU or apply their credits to another university.
CAS Dean Gabrielle Starr and Gallatin Dean Susanne Wofford were approached by faculty members with the idea three years ago. Starr said those involved with the program feel that it is a way to give back to the people of New York.
“As it turns out, it is the single best way to give people access to a life when they get out that doesn’t involve going back to prison,” Starr said.
Students can currently choose to enroll in either critical perspectives on justice through creative writing or literary analysis and the politics of interpretation. Upon satisfactory completion of the program’s coursework, students receive an Associate of Arts Degree from the university.