National Directory of Higher Education Programs in Prison
In 2008, the Prison Studies Project began compiling a list of higher education in prison programs throughout the United States. This was the first nationwide directory of higher education programs in U.S. prisons. For ten years, the National Directory of Higher Education Programs in Prison has been a central focus of the Prison Studies Project and an important resource for the higher education in prison community. We are excited to be partnering with the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison to transfer the National Directory to its website and to expand its reach. During this transition period, the current directory and program listings will remain on the Prison Studies Project website but the Directory will no longer be updated. On April 6, 2020, the Alliance for Higher Education in Prison launched the Annual Survey of Higher Education in Prison Programs, a national effort to collect information from directors of higher education in prison programs, to inform the National Directory of Higher Education in Prison Programs. To contribute to the Annual Survey, follow this link. Questions about the Prison Studies Project and/or the history of the National Directory of Higher Education Programs in Prison can be sent via the Contact page. Thank you for your patience and support.
In September 2008, Kaia Stern and Bruce Western launched the Prison Studies Project (PSP) at Harvard University to promote informed conversation about the challenges of mass incarceration. Born out of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, PSP’s mission is to awaken the broadest possible public to the ways we punish, and to reimagine justice in the United States. Since its inception, PSP has been committed to raising public awareness, teaching college courses inside prison, and injecting into the public conversation a discussion of policy alternatives. Our work has focused on research, education and policy change.
Who We Are
Co-Founder & Director
Kaia Stern is cofounder and director of the Prison Studies Project, which began at Harvard University in 2008. Her work focuses on transformative justice and education in prison. Her first book, Voices from American Prisons: Faith, Education and Healing was published by Routledge (2014). Recognized as a national resource, her contribution to the Greenhaven Prison Program at Vassar College, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, Vera Institute of Justice, Kings County District Attorney’s Office, The Riverside Church, Open Society Institute, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, Boston University’s Prison Education Program, Concord Prison Outreach, and the U.S. Department of Justice has facilitated work with numerous schools and prisons in various states for the last twenty-five years. She is currently the first Practitioner in Residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Visiting Faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she leads the Transformative Justice Initiative.
Bruce Western is the Bryce Professor of Sociology and Social Justice and Co-Director of the Justice Lab at Columbia University. His research has examined the causes, scope, and consequences of the historic growth in U.S. prison populations. Western is also the Principal Investigator of the Square One Project that aims re-imagine the public policy response to violence under conditions of poverty and racial inequality. He is the author of Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison (Russell Sage Foundation, 2018), and Punishment and Inequality in America (Russell Sage Foundation, 2006). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar, and a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study. Western received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and was born in Canberra, Australia.
Sameen earned her masters in International Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She strongly believes that everyone has the right to access quality education and is working to ensure that people who are or were formerly incarcerated are included in that conversation. Sameen graduated from Austin College with a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science. She
globetrotted from teaching at an orphanage in Pakistan to studying social and political conflict in Ireland to pursuing a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship on the island of Borneo. While in Dallas, she was a Marketing Associate at an education nonprofit where she helped lead the organization’s marketing and communication projects through the creation of websites and digital and print publications. Sameen is also a website developer and created the website you’re currently browsing! If you’re in the market to develop or upgrade your website, reach out to her.