Providing University-Level Education to Ease Prisoner Reentry and Enhance Success
In 2011, John Jay College of Criminal Justice President Jeremy Travis posed the following question: “If over 700,000 people are leaving our prisons, how should the nation’s educational institutions be organized to help them make a successful transition to free society?” The result of his query is the Prison-to-College Pipeline (P2CP), an innovative educational program founded by John Jay English professor Baz Dreisinger. P2CP is administered by the Prisoner Reentry Institute in partnership with Hostos Community College and provides prisoners with access to public university-level education, mentorship, and community support to increase their chances of timely graduation and employment upon release.
Research has already demonstrated that prisoners who engage in higher education while incarcerated have lower return-to-custody rates and higher levels of employment and wages upon release. It’s an investment that results in cost savings through long term crime prevention. P2CP provides prisoners with college-level work in the three to five years prior to their release, which can be pivotal in setting a positive course for reentry, making it more likely that someone will pursue educational opportunities when released and, ultimately, succeed in college and a career.
P2CP represents a dynamic partnership between two major public institutions: the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and CUNY, a public university system with a rich history of providing quality education to typically underserved communities. Since 2011, P2CP has been delivering classes at the Otisville Correctional Facility, a medium security federal men’s institution approximately two hours from New York City.