The Petey Greene Program supplements education in jails, prisons, and detention centers, by preparing volunteers to provide free, quality tutoring and related programming to support the academic achievement of incarcerated people.


The Petey Greene Program will inspire our alumni to become advocates and to take on leadership roles that will re-imagine the criminal justice system. We envision a world in which all incarcerated people have access to high quality academic programs.


The Petey Greene Program is named after the late Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene, Jr., a TV and radio talk show host and community activist who served time in prison and went on to become one of the most notable media personalities in Washington, D.C. history.  While incarcerated for armed robbery, Greene became the prison’s disc jockey and subsequently a role model for many other individuals incarcerated in the facility. 

Petey Greene became an advocate for the rights of formerly incarcerated people, founding several organizations that worked to restore the civil rights of people with criminal records.

Greene’s friend Charlie Puttkammer was inspired by Greene’s life, and founded the Petey Greene Program in his honor, to strengthen education services available in jails and prisons, and to offer college students the opportunity to support incarcerated students in their academic work.  Since 2009, the Petey Greene Program has operated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene Jr.  (January 23, 1931 – January 10, 1984)

Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene Jr.

(January 23, 1931 – January 10, 1984)