Hudson Link, a New York-based non-profit organization, has a program for inmates that allows them to earn college degrees even though they’re still behind bars. Upon release from prison, inmates who earned a degree through the program have just a 2% chance of being re-incarcerated compared to the 43% general rate of recidivism in the state.
Aside from turning around the lives of the inmates, Hudson Link also claims to help save New York State taxpayers from millions of dollars. While it costs $60,000 per year to jail an individual in New York State, it only costs $5,000 to provide them education while in prison.
The degree programs are now offered for free as donations and sponsorships poured in from private organizations and individuals. Hudson Link is currently operational in 6 correctional facilities, in partnership with 7 colleges that offered degree options in behavioral sciences and liberal arts.
Since its inception in 1998, Hudson Link has already awarded about 700 degrees to inmates. Currently, there are 600 more students in state prison that are enrolled in the program.
The organization was founded by Sean Pica, who found himself sent to prison at the age of 16. When he was freed after his reduced sentence of 16 years, he started making efforts to provide support and a second chance in life to inmates.
“I think a lot of our prisons in this country were built on an effort of punishment,” Pica told Freethink. “But when you punish somebody, there’s got to be something about rehabilitation and second chances, and that’s what we’re doing in these prisons.”
Learn more about Hudson Link at http://www.hudsonlink.org