- [Shawn Young] The work, I think exemplifies for everyone that's paying attention, what's possible when you are supporting others, and valuing others, and giving folks an opportunity to be successful and to be a part of our community to welcome them back into the fullness of our community.
(upbeat music) Bard Prison Initiative is a program of Bard College that delivers higher education services to our community that's incarcerated.
We're in seven prisons right now.
A degree program, so a person can achieve their associates or bachelor's degrees.
And actually very soon they'll be able to achieve their master degrees.
It's really just about education.
And that education allows you, I think, you know a deeper understanding of where you want to go.
- [Tammar Cancer] I didn't have a idea of the career that I wanted to do while I was studying.
Education just, it opens up a whole different world for you.
I did 21 years and came home and I'm fully remote.
It's just a new world for me.
I'm literally getting paid to do exactly what I was doing in BPI.
Listening, reading, writing, interpreting.
The exercise of BPI is, you know, learning is a skill, it's an ability.
I get paid decent money to do what I enjoy doing.
I think that's kind of dope.
(chuckles) (steady music) - [Jed Tucker] One way to think about the prison system is it enforces dependence.
So all the people living there are not allowed to be independent.
You know, that has a lot of long-term impact on people.
Going to college in prison changes the daily routine, 150%.
What any good experience in a liberal arts college should do is help you figure out what you are really interested in.
- Literature allowed me to explore the world which I never knew exists.
And it helped me relate to others in different ways.
This is my awakening.
Mind you, I went to prison at 16, I had no idea.
I didn't know what a man was, I didn't know who I was.
So education kind of molded me to the person I am today.
When I first got out, you know, BPI made sure I had a secure a foundation.
I continue to do what I always loved to do.
Educate myself, and educate others.
- [Promoter] With support from WDI strengthening New York's workforce.
(steady music fades)