States of Incarceration is on view at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum in Plattsburgh, NY!
It will remain on view through March 13, and then will travel to West Virginia.
In 1876, Elmira Reformatory became one of the first prisons in New York State to offer college courses. To understand the relationship between higher education in prison and incarceration in New York State, this project explores the history of higher education at the state’s largest maximum-security prison located twenty miles from our college. Clinton Correctional Facility offered classes through Clinton Community College; the last class graduated in 1995 following legislation that eliminated Pell Grant opportunities for incarcerated people. No other college-in-prison program has existed at Clinton since but correspondence courses are available if the men can afford to pay. Providing an education to people in prison is an investment in their future and communities. We argue that an education partnership between SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Correctional Facility – where men are brutalized and denied basic human rights – is crucial and vital in redefining mass incarceration in New York.
Our Point of View
Our views about higher education in prison changed significantly while researching this project. When we started, half of us supported education in prison while the other half did not. After interviewing formerly incarcerated people and educators who teach inside, we all agree that incarcerated people should receive a college education. The shortsightedness of those who oppose college-in-prison programs is symptomatic of our nation’s obsession with incarcerating its citizens, not educating them.
Even individuals who are incarcerated for life require access to information, to literature, and to a window on the world.
— American Library Association
Dr. Erin S. Corbett
Director of Policy at the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice, and founder of the Second Chance Educational Alliance
Prison Education Coordinator, the State University of New York
SUNY Plattsburgh Class of 2018
Project Associate, the Correctional Association of New York
Dr. Breea Willingham
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Plattsburgh State University of New Yorkread more…
Cardinal Lounge, Angell College Center (ACC)
Film screening and talk back moderated by PBS’ Thom Hallock.
College Behind Bars, directed by award-winning filmmaker Lynn Novick, produced by Sarah Botstein, and executive produced by Ken Burns, tells the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees and turn their lives around in one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the United States – the Bard Prison Initiative.
Through the personal stories of the students and their families, the film reveals the transformative power of higher education and puts a human face on America’s criminal justice crisis. It raises...read more…
Clarence Jefferson (Jeff) Hall Jr. is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Queensborough Community College / CUNY, located in Bayside, Queens, New York. Hall's research focuses on the intersection of environmental politics and the carceral state in nineteenth- and twentieth-century New York.
Hall has presented his research at academic conferences and colloquia hosted by the New York State Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Society for Environmental History, Binghamton University Department of History, Stony Brook University Department of History, and at venues large and small across New York State.
His work has also...read more…
Alumni Conference Room, Angell College Center (ACC)