state:
New York
Local history:
Cuffs to Classroom: College in Prison
How Can Higher Education Redefine Mass Incarceration in New York's North Country?
SUNY Plattsburgh
Exhibiting Partner:
SUNY Plattsburgh
Burke Gallery, Myers Fine Arts Building -- Second Floor
January 27, 2020March 13, 2020

States of Incarceration in WV

Closing soon!

West Virginia University's States of Incarceration exhibition is on view until December 18, 2020
(Downtown Library, Morgantown, WV)

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New York: Cuffs to Classroom: College in Prison
How Can Higher Education Redefine Mass Incarceration in New York's North Country?
SUNY Plattsburgh

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.

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New York: Cuffs to Classroom: College in Prison    SUNY Plattsburgh
How Can Higher Education Redefine Mass Incarceration in New York's North Country?
New York: Cuffs to Classroom: College in Prison
How Can Higher Education Redefine Mass Incarceration in New York's North Country?
  SUNY Plattsburgh

National Exhibition Venue    SUNY Plattsburgh

Public Dialogues and Events
| January 27 – March 13, 2020

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule
““Higher education in prison means a chance at hope, a chance at change, and a chance at growth.” ”  — Kae’Chauna Sinclair, student at SUNY-Plattsburgh
““Until Tyrrell Muhammad … shared his story, I don’t think I truly understood how important higher education is (in prison) and how it legitimately changes people’s lives.””  — Rachel Voegel, student at SUNY-Plattsburgh

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