Two weeks ago, more than 500 community members, activists, and fans of Orange is the New Black gathered at the Hartford Stage to join the Stowe Center, Twain House & Museum and Community Partners in Action for a program with author of Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman. If you've read the book or watched the hit Netflix series, you will recall that when Piper arrived in prison she offered to help with educating the inmates through their GED program; she recognized that she could use her experience and education to help the other women. She soon learned, however, that education was not a top priority and was assigned to work in the electrical shop.
For some prison systems, however, education is a clear priority. Last week, the Huffington Post reported on Lipscomb University's special graduation at the Tennessee Prison for Women. Starting in 2007, the University offered weekly classes for inmates wishing to work towards their Associate's Degree. After seven years, the first class of nine received their diplomas from the President of Lipscomb in front fellow inmates and professors from the University on December 13.
The Prison and Lipscomb added two additional classes in 2009 and 2011, both of which continue to meet on Wednesday evenings and include outside students from the University as well as inmates. All classes are at capacity, and the current graduates have a collective 3.7 GPA. The success of the program has lead to the development of a bachelors program which the nine graduates will earn in another 7 years.
To learn more about the services offered to inmates in Connecticut, visit the Department of Corrections website. For more on incarceration and local organizations like Breaking the Cycle and Community Partners in Action that work towards improving the system, visit our Event Recap: "What About the Kids: Incarceration’s Forgotten Victims" post.
Welcome to the conversation!
Welcome to the conversation!
Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.
The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.
The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate
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