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Prison Education

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 248 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. 

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.

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.


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If you are interested in visiting the Bedford Hills or Taconic facilities, please contact MMC to make advance arrangements.