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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.

Lawmakers reach major bipartisan breakthrough in criminal justice reform

Oct 5, 2015
Top Senate Republicans and Democrats have reached a bipartisan deal on criminal justice reform, a breakthrough that has been years in the making. The proposal, which may be announced as soon as Thursday, has the crucial backing of Sen. Chuck Grassley, the conservative chair of the Judiciary Committee. The bill would reform federal prison sentencing […]

Education Secretary urges criminal justice reform, wants $15 billion to go to teachers

Oct 1, 2015
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday appealed to the nation’s states and cities to dramatically reduce incarceration for nonviolent crimes, and he proposed to use the estimated $15 billion in savings to substantially raise teacher pay in high-poverty schools. By Emma Brown September 30, 2015 Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks during a Sept. 14 […]

Cultivating Justice with Vanita Gupta

Sep 16, 2015
The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice is glad to join with others at Harvard Law School in presenting this fall discussion series about criminal justice reform, movement lawyering, community activism and strategies for systemic change. We are especially pleased to be joined by Vanita Gupta of the U.S. Department of Justice on September 17th. All events are free and open to the public.

Restoration of Pell Grants for People in Prison

Jul 28, 2015
“The Obama administration plans to restore federal funding for prison inmates to take college courses, a potentially controversial move that comes amid a broader push to overhaul the criminal justice system. The plan, set to be unveiled Friday by the secretary of education and the attorney general, would allow potentially thousands of inmates in the […]
  • National Directory of Prison Education Programs