People in prison face numerous obstacles that prevent them from obtaining a quality postsecondary education—from a lack of academic materials, library resources, technology, and internet access to space for classroom instruction.

Ithaka S+R is proud to support the advancement of equitable and high-quality education in prisons and jails by conducting critical research, sharing expertise on current issues, and developing innovative partnerships to improve educational opportunities for all learners.

Equity and student success

Our commitment to expanding access to higher education and supporting student success is at the core of our Justice Initiatives. We continue to shine a light on the issues affecting learners inside to advocate for educational equity and enable individuals to reenter society with the skills and knowledge to lead better lives.

Policy and practice

Ithaka S+R brings expertise to bear on new and developing policies that affect higher education in prison programs and the learners they serve, including Pell grant restoration for people in prison, tuition assistance programs in New York, and media review policies across the US. Explore expert perspectives on rulings and concrete recommendations on how to move forward.

Memory and visibility

Enduring stigma continues to suppress open communication about the experience of mass incarceration, especially from those directly impacted. We’re making efforts to spotlight and preserve the first-hand experiences of people who are currently, or have been previously, incarcerated in order to make progress toward necessary reforms and combat stigma. 

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), our first project in this area aims to understand how creative works by people in prison circulate beyond the prison and to determine how they might be ethically collected and preserved.

Justice initiatives across ITHAKA

Ithaka S+R’s work supports the broader aim of ITHAKA to increase access to high-quality higher education programs and library resources in prisons. We invite you to learn more about ITHAKA’s initiatives in this space.