Mellon Foundation awards $1.5 million for prison education program

Mellon Foundation awards $1.5 million for prison education program

The University of New Haven and the Yale Prison Education Initiative at Dwight Hall (YPEI)  have announced a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of a degree-granting program for incarcerated individuals.

The grant will establish a program that makes it possible for men and women incarcerated in Connecticut to earn a two-year associate's degree from UNH. Since 2018, YPEI has offered for-credit Yale courses to incarcerated individuals at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. Among other things, the grant will support the expansion of YPEI’s network of academic resources, tutors, advisors, and other support systems; help fund the hiring of additional staff; pay for technology enhancements in prison classrooms, including computer labs and virtual classrooms; and support fellowships for alumni of YPEI and other college-in-prison programs on both the Yale and UNH campuses. A bachelor’s degree program is scheduled to launch in 2022.

"We are so grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for believing in our shared vision of serving incarcerated students as future citizens and leaders worthy of serious investment and support," said S. Zelda Roland, founding director of YPEI and director of the new program. "Each university has a unique contribution to make to the field, and our new partnership will surely resonate among peer institutions and across the country. With the coming national restoration of Pell Grant access for incarcerated students, we hope to model best practices for a rigorous, credit-bearing, degree-granting program that can meet the potential of justice-impacted students, as well as inspire greater university participation in college-in-prison programming."

(Photo credit: Yale Prison Education Program)

"University Receives $1.5 Million Grant to Support Education for Incarcerated Students." University of New Haven press release 04/15/2021. "Yale prison education program receives $1.5 million Mellon grant." Yale University press release 04/15/2021.