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Episode Info:

Ellen Condliffe Lagemann is the former dean of education at Harvard, a prolific author, and a distinguished fellow at the Bard Prison Initiative.

In this episode, Ellen talks about her book "Liberating Minds: The Case for College in Prison" and her own experiences teaching in New York State prisons.

Ellen persuasively outlines the many benefits of college-in-prison programs. As she points out, most incarcerated people return to society someday. Education programs in prisons help people grow while incarcerated and return to society in a better position to contribute and avoid a life of crime. The recidivism rate for prisoners who take college courses is extremely low. These programs also give inmates purpose and can reduce violence and instability in prisons.

I recommend that you also check out an earlier episode we did on this topic called "Prison, punishment, and rehabilitation." In that episode, I interviewed one of Ellen's former students, Wes Caines. In that episode, Wes makes a very personal case for these programs from the point of view of a participant. Ellen complements Wes's perspective with a bird's eye view of what college-in-prison programs are and their larger societal benefits.


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