“Their bodies might be locked up here, but their minds are free once they get an education.”
Those were Emmy Award-winning journalist Bill Whitaker’s words at Sing Sing Prison’s recent graduation ceremony. Forty-four inmates – the largest graduating class in the prison’s history – received their associates and bachelor’s degrees through a program run by Mercy College and Stand Together Catalyst Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison.
Re-entering society after serving a prison or jail sentence can be riddled with obstacles. The social stigma of a conviction, difficulty finding a job, reconnecting with family and friends, and getting marketable job skills can add up to overwhelming barriers for the formerly incarcerated. As a result, many end up returning to crime and the justice system.
“You go through the worst to get to the good stuff”
That’s where organizations like Hudson Link come in. They provide incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women with a college education, life skills and support to help them transform their lives, families and communities – resulting in lower rates of recidivism, incarceration, and poverty. With an astonishing recidivism rate of less than one percent, Hudson Link graduates are proof of the power of education, opportunity, and support to change the trajectory of a person’s life. 2018 graduate Laron Rogers said he got his degree for himself but also for his grandmother – who said, “he had this in him all along.”
Sean’s Story: Transformation Catalyzes a Ripple Effect of Change
We believe that every individual has unique talents and gifts that when used to their fullest potential can bring about change for their community. Hudson Link executive director Sean Pica has done exactly that. Incarcerated at age 16, Sean didn’t think he had much to care about until he recognized the power his ninth grade education gave him. Watch this below to hear more from Sean about his story.
Sean Pica turned his prison sentence into a lifelong mission to help individuals harness the power of education. Freethink features this Stand Together Catalyst leader’s incredible story of personal transformation and how he’s helping hundreds of others in prison realize their full potential through education.
Posted by Stand Together on Thursday, April 19, 2018