Events & exhibitions
event • Lectures

Education Justice: Why Prison Classrooms Matter

  • Thursday, October 29, 2020
  • Online on Zoom
Students sitting together in graduation caps and gowns
Image source: Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Bob Daemmrich Photography

“What college does, it helps us learn about the nation,” said Rodney Spivey-Jones, a 2017 Bard College graduate currently incarcerated at Fishkill Correctional Facility in New York, in the docuseries College behind Bars. “It helps us become civic beings. It helps us understand that we have an interest in our community, that our community is a part of us and we are a part of it.”  

The Bard Prison Initiative and programs at other institutions of higher learning across the country have brought together teachers and learners in incarcerated spaces for years. This panel will gather faculty members, administrators, and students who have participated in such programs to discuss the critical importance of prison education and the pivotal role colleges and universities play in expanding the power of education beyond their campus.  

View the four-part documentary film series College behind Bars on PBS through December 31, 2020, or view the extended trailer for the series.

On November 10, 2020, the Radcliffe Institute will hold an associated virtual program that focuses on students’ voices.

Event Video

Students sitting together in graduation caps and gowns


Max Kenner, founder and executive director, Bard Prison Initiative

Dyjuan Tatro, government affairs associate, Bard Prison Initiative

Zelda Roland, founding director, Yale Prison Education Initiative at Dwight Hall at Yale

Craig Steven Wilder, Barton L. Weller Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Lynette Nicole Tannis, adjunct lecturer on education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; author, Educating Incarcerated Youth: Exploring the Impact of Relationships, Expectations, Resources and Accountability (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

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