How P2CP Works

The Prison-to-College Pipeline (P2CP) program operates just as its name implies, as a pipeline funneling prison students into college in the community to complete their degrees upon release. Applicants who (i) have their high school diplomas or GEDs; (ii) are eligible for release within five years; and (iii) pass City of New York (CUNY) reading and writing assessments, are evaluated based on written essays and interviews to determine admission in a competitive process. All students in the program who maintain passing grades are guaranteed a seat in a CUNY institution upon release. The program combines the following components:


  • Through P2CP, PRI brings CUNY professors to Otisville Correctional Facility to teach accredited college courses in a variety of liberal arts disciplines including English, Sociology, Anthropology, and more. These courses provide a solid academic foundation that prepares students for the standards and expectations of rigorous college-level work.
  • P2CP also includes a full-scale developmental education program, which builds reading and writing skills that prepare students for college-level coursework, as well as prepares students to pass the CUNY Assessment Test (CAT).
  • In 2015 P2CP provided access to the CUNY Assessment Test to over 150 incarcerated men at six correctional facilities across the state.

PRI facilitates workshops designed to support reentering students’ successful transition into postsecondary education in the community. These workshops focus on accessing wrap-around reentry services and on-campus supports as well as building social capital, self-advocacy and the soft skills essential to college success.

Learning Exchanges
Once a month, John Jay and Hostos students join the Otisville students for classes and are integrated into the prison college learning environment, a life-altering learning exchange for students on both sides, exposing prison students to a traditional college classroom and giving John Jay students first-hand experience of prisoners and prison life.

Pre-Release Academic Counseling and Reentry Planning
PRI provides academic support and builds relationships with students prior to release, both in person and through the mail. This process initiates the academic counseling relationship and intake process, and gives students a head start on the paperwork that will be required for college enrollment in the community. Students also receive support from the Osborne Association, a community partner that conducts social service assessments and develops case plans to address each individual’s unique range of reentry needs, including housing, subsistence, healthcare, mental health or substance abuse treatment, social supports, and compliance with criminal justice conditions of release.

Tribeca Film Institute Screenings
P2CP hosts regular film screenings and discussions that are open to the larger population of various correctional facilities. The program is now run by the Tribeca Film Institute, which also trains members of the Lifers and Long Termers Association at the prison to facilitate the post-screening discussions. Read more about the TFI program here.

College Placement
After participation in P2CP, students are connected to College Initiative, another PRI Educational Initiative. Released P2CP students work with CI to receive mentorship and guidance, helping them to decide on a course of study, choose appropriate CUNY colleges or community colleges, complete their college applications, and seek financial aid. College Initiative also matches students to mentors who work with them for at least their first year of college in the community.

Read what students and faculty have to say about the P2CP experience.