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Prison Studies Project


The Prison Studies Project, in collaboration with Boston University’s Prison Education Program and the MA Department of Correction, brings together students from Harvard and students in prison. Each is part of a curriculum for college credit; classes focus on urban sociology, race, ethics, and transformative learning.


The growth of America’s prison and jail populations over the last 35 years creates an array of new challenges for public policy and provokes a variety of questions about the quality of American democracy and citizenship. The Prison Studies Project conducts research to address these challenges and questions.


The Prison Studies Project aims to raise public awareness about incarceration in America, promote a perspective on criminal punishment that emphasizes its connection to racial, class and other socioeconomic disadvantages, and inject into the public conversation a discussion of policy alternatives.

Barack Obama: Why we must rethink solitary confinement

Jan 28, 2016
President Barack Obama. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images) By Barack Obama January 25 The Washington Post Barack Obama is president of the United States. In 2010, a 16-year-old named Kalief Browder from the Bronx was accused of stealing a backpack. He was sent to Rikers Island to await trial, where he reportedly endured unspeakable violence at the hands of inmates and […]

States of Women’s Incarceration: The Global Context

Nov 24, 2015
States of Women’s Incarceration: The Global Context By Aleks Kajstura and Russ Immarigeon Article Available at: http://www.prisonpolicy.org/global/women/ Introduction We already know that when it comes to incarceration, the United States is truly exceptional. As we have reported previously, the United States incarcerates 716 people for every 100,000 residents, more than any other country. Worldwide, and within the […]

Prison English Program

Nov 18, 2015
The Prison English program began in the English Department at Arizona State University. It began by providing English-related instruction to incarcerated men in New Mexico and Arizona. The original core program, the Pen Project, was established in Spring 2010. It provides creative writing coaching to people incarcerated at the Penitentiary of New Mexico, primarily in supermax units.

Article: Why ‘Banning the Box’ is Such a Big Deal for the Formerly Incarcerated

Nov 5, 2015
From, The Nation.com By Michelle Chen November 3, 2015 Why ‘Banning the Box’ Is Such a Big Deal for the Formerly Incarcerated One small step by President Obama could improve employment prospects for anyone with a conviction. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people who have spent time behind bars prepare for life outside of […]
  • National Directory of Prison Education Programs