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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

Boston U. Prison Education Program celebrates 50 years of changing lives

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Monday, April 22, 2024   

Boston University's Prison Education Program is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and is hoping to expand.

Students at Massachusetts Correctional Institution Norfolk and MCI Framingham are earning undergraduate certificates and Bachelor of Liberal Arts degrees, to reform their lives and find ways to give back to their communities upon release.

Program Director Mary Ellen Mastrorilli said it offers hope for a better self, and her students are eager to learn.

"They're highly motivated," said Mastrorilli. "They're not afraid to work hard. They do their assignments. They're just, in some ways, the ideal student."

Mastrorilli said there's a misconception that educating people in prison is being soft on crime, but research shows these programs reduce misconduct and cut the likelihood of recidivism nearly in half.

That may be due to the better job prospects and higher wages that formerly incarcerated people with education experience.

It's also one reason Mastrorilli said she hopes the program will expand - and why even more universities, including Tufts and Emerson, are growing their own prison initiatives, and giving students a second chance.

"The prison education classroom is a space where they get to claim their humanity and their dignity," said Mastrorilli. "And it's easy to understand how personal growth will come from that."

Students in Boston University's program have earned more than 400 bachelor's degrees in the past few decades alone.

Mastrorilli said the undergraduate certificate program has also become increasingly popular with people serving shorter sentences, and for those unsure if they can handle the degree program workload.

She said it's important to judge her students not by their crimes, but as human beings with unlocked potential.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.





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