The United States has the highest documented rate of incarceration in the world, a rate that has increased by more than 400 percent during the past 40 years. In response to this crisis, Bennington College launched the Incarceration in America initiative, which has included course curriculum, visiting speakers, theatrical events, think tanks, and three conferences focused on developing public policy and political action in the post-tough-on-crime era. Since its inception in 2014, we have partnered with many organizations doing important work in this field, including JustLeadershipUSA, The Fortune Society, Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and Housing+Solutions.

In addition to the events and programming centered around this initiative, a group of students created the Bennington College Incarceration Taskforce (BCIT); this group has published op-ed pieces in regional newspapers, consulted with the Vermont legislature on current and pending bills, and initiated public discussions on issues related to incarceration reform.

Prison Education Initiative

In partnership with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Bennington offers transferable credited college courses to prisoners at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York, a maximum-security prison where 1,600 men are incarcerated. Spring 2016 courses at Great Meadow include American history, literature, and social science. 

Upcoming Spring Conference

Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7, 2016
More details coming soon. 

See information on past events.