First Degree: "The expression, "sent up the river," was coined by people who were sent up the Hudson River to do their time at the infamous Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, NY. First Degree finds hope in this seemingly hopeless place by investigating an unusual college behind bars that prevents [those at] Sing Sing from being sent back up the river after their release. Nationwide, over half of [people] released return to prison within 5 years, but for the past 14 years, less than 1% of the [those] who received a college degree at Sing Sing returned to prison."
What I Want My Words to Do to You: "offers an unprecedented look into the minds and hearts of the incarcerated women of New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. The film goes inside a writing workshop led by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, consisting of 15 women, most of whom were convicted of murder. Through a series of exercises and discussions, the women delve into their pasts and explore the nature of their crimes and the extent of their own culpability. The film culminates in an emotionally charged prison performance of the women’s writing by acclaimed actors Mary Alice, Glenn Close, Hazelle Goodman, Rosie Perez and Marisa Tomei."
Zero Percent: "Take a step inside the most notorious prison in the world, the infamous Sing Sing, to discover a group of convicted men who are doing something to defy the statistics that face them at every turn. The national rate at which men and women return to prison in the three years following their release hovers around 60%. That means roughly 3 in 5 of the men or women who leave prison will be back. ZERO PERCENT is the story of the men of Hudson Link, an organization created by the incarcerated men themselves that provides a full college degree through local universities. The results are so stunning, they have to be seen to be believed."
Student Led Meetings
- Discussions about articles, book excerpts, etc.
- Informal group meetings- gather as a group to talk about your tutoring experiences. Consider some creative way to express your thoughts.
- Awareness/advocacy event about educational programs in prisons for your campus
Speakers: List of speakers by region
- Invite a formerly incarcerated person who participated in an education program while incarcerated to speak about his or her experiences
- Invite someone who teaches in the prisons - perhaps someone at your school who teaches at your university and a prison!
- Considering bringing these people together, and add some others, to create a panel! A local activist group or other Criminal Justice themed organization on campus may be interested in co-hosting with you.