The Tufts University Prison Initiative

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An Anonymous DonorDr. Betsy Busch M75 and Dr. John Szlyk M73 matched $2,500
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About

The Tufts University Prison Initiative of the Tisch College of Civic Life (TUPIT) is running a college-in-prison program. We teach and learn at Tufts that everyone should experience the excitement of profoundly transformative education that fosters personal growth – and we need your continued help in making this a sustainable program!


Our Program

Tufts University’s Prison Initiative (TUPIT) began in 2016 as a faculty-led initiative for racial-economic-gender justice, and it has grown quickly through close partnerships with the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Bunker Hill Community College, several Boston-based reentry organizations for people returning from prison, and incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. TUPIT’s prison to college pathway is now even more robust, offering programming in the maximum-security prison, a medium-security prison, and starting this fall a minimum-security prison.

Upon release, our students join the MyTERN college reentry program on the Tufts Boston campus. MyTERN is a 9-month certificate program in Civic Studies that offers students 12 credits through trauma-informed, restorative teaching and learning practices. MyTERN includes not only students from the TUPIT program in prison but also people impacted by incarceration who are eager to participate in a holistic reentry educational community. A founding member of the new Boston Workforce Reentry Coalition, MyTERN facilitates work in tandem with supporting reentry-focused organizations and thereby provides extensive wrap around support.

Over 50 Tufts faculty members from across the university (AS&E, SMFA, TUSM, Friedman, Fletcher) are already involved or expressing interest in participation. The number of Tufts Medford-based undergraduate and graduate students participating each semester as Teaching Assistants or co-learning students is now approaching 100 each year. In addition, Tufts’ CELT, STAAR Center, and Tisch Library have dedicated staff members that support TUPIT.

And this is all because of YOU!

Your previous donations have 1) helped people release from prison with an associate’s degree in the liberal arts from Bunker Hill Community College after 3 years of successful coursework, 2) opened the door for continuing coursework in prison toward a bachelor’s degree in Civic Studies from Tufts, and 3) sustained the MyTERN re-entry program. But we still urgently need your support and partnership to facilitate program sustainability and growth!


Why TUPIT Programming?!

75% of people in the US who release from prison go back within the first five years of their release. Receiving any formal education while serving a sentence reduces the rate at which people return to prison to 43% (RAND 2013). A college credential, however, brings this number down to between 5% and 0%. Helping those who re-enter society to stay out of prison is critical, and it is far from the only benefit of college in prison. TUPIT programming is not only reducing recidivism, but it also foregrounds the importance of social-emotional health through community building and trauma-informed practices. Your much needed support will help us to continue offering collective, self-reflective, and transformational experiences for all involved!

Since Last year’s Crowdfunding Campaign

This past December, TUPIT students made up the first class of college students in Massachusetts history to earn an associate’s degree while serving time – and all 12 students graduated with honors, 8 with “high honors,” and 3 with “highest honors”!

In fall 2021, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) approved the plan to include MCI-Concord among Tufts’ degree-granting campuses.

TUPIT has created ReSentencing, the first national journal of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated writers and artists.

Now, having achieved their associate’s degree in the liberal arts from BHCC after 3 years of Tufts coursework, our first cohort of graduates is continuing in the TUPIT program toward the bachelor’s degree in Civic Studies from Tufts’ School of Arts & Sciences.

We have just started a new cohort of 19 incarcerated students at MCI-Concord.

We are releasing the second season of our podcast, MyTERN Conversations, and we have implemented new arts and restorative justice-based curricula.

We are about to graduate our second MyTERN cohort, which has doubled from last year, and begin admissions for a third.

We are elated to provide these tremendously exciting updates. We’ve been able to improve the landscape for justice involved communities in Massachusetts because of your previous generous support, and we badly need your help TODAY to keep this program going!

No updates have been added yet.


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Dr. Betsy Busch M75 and Dr. John Szlyk M73
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