The debate team is part of the Bard Prison Initiative, which has 300 inmates enrolled (CNN) In a debate between Harvard College students and … Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. A 20-year-old team member, Anais Carell, also noted how impressed she was, saying that “they caught us off guard”. Twenty students at a time also learn to debate. The debate union faces their rival across the river, West Point. ', © 2020 Public Media Group of Southern California. An extended trailer can be viewed here. "Our program is successful because we operate on a genuinely human level.". You may need to download version 2.0 now from the Chrome Web Store. Almost 300 incarcerated men and women are currently pursuing degrees in six prisons across New York State. Set to write the script is Kay Oyegun, who was nominated for a WGA Award for her work on This Is Us. As noted, BPI enrolls 300 students at a time, but over 10,000 ex-prisoners are released from America’s state and federal prisons every week. I am a professor and publish on constitutional and educational issues. How they did it, though, is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. Low levels of literacy create tremendous hardship for the 650,000 prisoners who are released in the U.S. each year. In 2001, BPI graduated from being a student organization to become a legitimate extension of the college. The students at BPI are not generally low-level offenders who wound up in prison through bad luck. . These are folks who under normal circumstances would be highly likely to end up back in prison after their release. "The most important thing that our students' success symbolizes is how much better we can do in education in the U.S. for all people," BPI founder Max Kenner told The Huffington Post. 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If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. In July, BPI was awarded a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation to help support its work for higher education in prisons and innovations in criminal justice reform. BPI was founded in 1999, in the wake of the decimation of college-in-prison. Almost everywhere in the United States, time spent in prison is at best wasted, at worst spent in a swirl of violence and humiliation. The debate team, which will be featured in a PBS documentary this fall directed by Lynn Novick, got its start six years ago. They are in fact enrolled through Bard College. Send us a tip using our annonymous form. Launch dates for broadcast, cable and streaming programs, Up-to-date lists for broadcast, cable and streaming series, Pandemic-proof vs. pandemic-contingent broadcast lineups, Signup for Breaking News Alerts & Newsletters, Get our latest storiesin the feed of your favorite networks. All Rights reserved. We made it easy for you to exercise your right to vote! And many prisoners suffer from serious mental illnesses that would make giving them a high-quality college education extremely difficult. One said, “I am not an exceptional person. How they did it, though, is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. Today is National Voter Registration Day! Here’s how. When incarcerated students from the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI) Debate Union beat a team from Harvard, their victory made headlines around the world. Studies show that prisoners who enroll in educational programs behind bars are much less likely to return to prison than those who don't. This Is How A Prison's Debate Team Beat Harvard, Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. The BPI debate team regularly challenges teams from the best colleges in the world. The BPI runs across six campuses at New York State prisons. I had the opportunity to speak with two BPI graduates about these concerns. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. BPI and similar initiatives show a way forward. She separately scripted a film about Angela Davis for Lionsgate.
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