Education and hope are vital to rehabilitation. That’s why Marymount Manhattan College offers college-prep and degree programs to the women incarcerated at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison, and at the adjacent Taconic Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison.
About our Programs
Through MMC’s Bedford Hills College Program (BHCP) and Taconic College Program (TCP), women incarcerated at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and at the Taconic Correctional Facility enroll in courses leading to Associate of Arts degrees in Social Sciences and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology or Politics and Human Rights. MMC has been the sole degree-granting institution for the BHCP for more than 20 years, awarding over 235 degrees since the program’s inception in 1997.
MMC opened a new teaching location at the Taconic facility in February 2019 in partnership with nonprofit Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison. Hudson Link is a third party facilitator that partners with MMC in coordinating college-level courses at the Taconic facility, as well as providing re-entry services for the women of Bedford Hills and Taconic. The TCP marks the first opportunity in New York State for incarcerated women to have an uninterrupted pathway to a bachelor’s degree if they are transferred from maximum-security to medium-security prison.
BHCP and TCP students are considered a part of the MMC student community, and each program follows the same general education and major requirements as the main 71st Street campus. Courses of all levels are offered each semester—approximately 14-16 courses at Bedford Hills and 8-9 courses at Taconic. Students typically take 2-3 courses per semester. The College provides textbooks and school supplies, and the College Learning Center at Bedford Hills has a networked computer lab, a library, and an area for students to meet with professors and tutors.
To celebrate their students’ accomplishments, MMC hosts an annual commencement ceremony for each program, during which family, friends, and supporters can visit the graduates and witness them walk proudly across the stage to accept their diplomas.
As with all prison education programs, the BHCP and TCP remain the single most effective tools for decreasing the likelihood that incarcerated women will return to prison upon their release. Recidivism among released BHCP graduates is virtually zero, as compared with the national average of 43.9% for women.
The MMC BRIDGE Model
A hallmark of MMC’s approach to prison education is mutual learning and dialogue between and among incarcerated students and our main campus 71st Street students, which we call the BRIDGE model, for Building Relationships for Inclusion, Diversity, Globalism, and Equity. The twofold purpose of the BRIDGE model is to enrich all students’ educational experiences through the free exchange of ideas and dialogue across teaching locations, and to pave the way for more seamless re-entry of incarcerated students to society.
MMC is a leader in building multiple strong and dynamic bridges across our main campus and prison locations:
- The biennial Crossing Borders academic conference brings together the best scholarly and creative work from main campus students and faculty and students at the BHCP.
- Honors Day is an annual colloquium of student achievement held at MMC’s main campus in which, each year, BHCP students have scholarly work accepted and presented by a main campus volunteer.
- The Book Arts Project is a collaboration between students in the BHCP and those on the main campus to write fables and then visually interpret those fables, a process that will be documented via video by MMC faculty and students and will culminate in parallel exhibitions at the Bedford Hills facility and on the main campus in 2020.
- The Moby-Dick Project, was an art exhibition held in 2017 in MMC’s Hewitt Gallery of Art in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the BHCP. BHCP students created artwork based on Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, by Herman Melville and those projects were displayed along with pieces by invited artists whose work shares an affinity with the great American novel.
- MMC’s annual Stand Up Speak Out film festival unites small teams of students at the BHCP and on main campus to write and produce short films around a social justice theme and screen within two weeks.
To give to prison education:
If you are interested in visiting the Bedford Hills or Taconic facilities, please contact MMC to make advance arrangements.