The Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) is a program of Bard College that provides college opportunity to people in prison. Currently operating in six prisons across New York State, BPI's academic programs engage students in the full breadth of liberal study and end in associate and bachelor's degrees from Bard. It currently enrolls 350 students full-time in liberal arts programs.[1] BPI first started making the news when its debate team won against Harvard in 2015.[2] Since federal funding for prison education programs was eliminated in 1995,[3] the BPI is one of a limited number of college degree granting programs available in U.S. prisons.[1][4]

BPI is also the home of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, which recruits, assists, and collaborates with colleges and universities across the country as they enter this field of work and reestablish college opportunity for people in prison in their home states.


  1. ^ a b "Bard Prison Initiative". Bard Prison Initiative website. Archived from the original on 29 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  2. ^ "College Classes In Maximum Security: 'It Gives You Meaning'". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  3. ^ "Maximum Security Education". 60 Minutes. 2007-04-15. CBS. Transcript. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ "National Directory of Higher Education Programs in Prison". Prison Studies Project. Retrieved 2019-01-12.

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