Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York faced severe challenges when in 1998 all state and federal funding for prison college education came to a screeching halt. The loss of higher education programs in the facility was having a devastating effect on prisoners morale.
Administrators and staff reached out to religious and academic volunteers for help and through the vision and leadership of Dr. Anne Reissner, Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison was founded and higher education for prisoners incarcerated at Sing Sing was restored through private funding.
“We envision lives that are transformed with the help of education in order to break the cycle of crime and poverty.”
The year of 2000 saw the first of Hudson Link’s programs to begin at sing sing with 22 students who were taught by Nyack College faculty. Nyack College is based on a Christian education that cares deeply and supports all of their students. In 2001 17 of these students graduated with Bachelor Degrees in Organizational Management. A new partnership also began with Mercy College in 2001, with educators teaching the same curriculum to prisoners at Sing Sing as on-campus students.
The highlight of the year with Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison at Sing Sing Correctional Facility is the annual graduation ceremony, where the students have the opportunity to walk up the aisle in cap and gown to receive their hard-earned diplomas. Commencement speakers have included Harry Belafonte, Tim Robbins and businessman Steve Forbes, Jr.
Hudson Link continues to explore partnership opportunities with other colleges and is planning on working with other correctional facilities as funding increases.
Success through prison education is evident in this heart-warming read of “Where Are They Now?” showcasing how some of the graduates of the Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison have used their degrees to become financially independent and contributors to society.
Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison is completely made up of a Board of volunteers who feels strongly about higher education in prison to help reduce rates of recidivism. The Board meets five times per year and depends upon generous donations of their supporters.