Correctional Facility for women in Bedford Hills, New York.
The program at Taconic complements MMC’s longstanding college program offered in the adjacent maximum-security Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for women, which has awarded more than 235 degrees since its inception in 1997. The collaboration of MMC, Hudson Link, and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) is the first in New York State to provide an opportunity for incarcerated women to have an uninterrupted pathway to degree completion when transferred from a maximum-security facility to a medium-security facility.
This spring, MMC had 28 new and 14 continuing students enrolled in college preparatory and for-credit undergraduate coursework at Taconic. On Monday, June 10, Marymount Manhattan held its first commencement ceremony at the Taconic Correctional Facility, recognizing women graduating from the newly established Taconic College Program (TCP).
A hallmark of MMC’s approach to prison education is mutual learning and dialogue between and among incarcerated students and 71st Street students. All students benefit from the free exchange of ideas and enhanced perspective-taking, paving the way for more fluid re-entry of incarcerated students to society. MMC calls this model BRIDGE, for Building Relationships for Inclusion, Diversity, Globalism, and Equity. The Crossing Borders Conference, which takes place every one to two years at the Bedford Hills facility, exemplifies the BRIDGE model by bringing together students, faculty, and alumni from both the prison program and main campus to present scholarly and creative work in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
In the coming years, MMC plans to expand and disseminate the BRIDGE model of college- and university-based prison education programs. Fully realized, the BRIDGE will be a New York State model that can be extended to include other institutions in a robust state-wide network, and a national model that could be emulated by colleges and universities in any locale.