Post Prison @ SFC
College Opportunities for the Formerly Incarcerated
Sara Haviland (Co-Director) / Emily Horowitz (Co-Director)
Nickie Phillips (Co-Director) / Eric Platt (Co-Director)
“No link has been established between having a criminal record and posing a risk to campus safety."
Hudson Link @ St. Francis has 3 key program goals:
- Promote college degree completion among formerly incarcerated people;
- Decrease recidivism while increasing employment opportunities and earnings potential;
- Improve quality-of-life and promote public safety in neighborhoods disproportionately affected by crime and incarceration.
Hudson Link @ St. Francis provides tuition for accepted students through a combination of financial aid and scholarships from St. Francis College and Hudson Link. Students are pre-screened for potential college success by representatives of Hudson Link and St. Francis College.
Hudson Link @ St. Francis will help those in this vulnerable, at-risk population earn a degree through intensive student monitoring, ongoing assessment, and integrated social service supports within a rigorous college program, including:
For-credit remediation classes (when required);
- Transfer of applicable college credits attained in prison programs;
- Enhanced academic support including dedicated mentors and faculty advisors;
- Enhanced social supports with social service and criminal justice organizations;
- Coordinated parole and/or probation supervision focused on college completion.
“Accepting college applicants with criminal records promotes public safety. Higher education opens doors of opportunity, enhances critical thinking, and leads to better and more stable employment."
St. Francis is ideal institution for this initiative; the College boasts a long-term commitment to disadvantaged and first-generation college students, a foundation based in Franciscan ideals of redemption and support for those most in need, and a location in downtown Brooklyn near many community-based justice programs and social service organizations – and many communities hard-hit by policies of mass incarceration.
Hudson Link @ St. Francis will replicate and enhance the success of the existing Hudson Link model program, which has awarded more than 300 college degrees to incarcerated people in New York State correctional facilities through their higher education programs. HBO and PBS both recently released documentary films featuring the meaning and success of the Hudson Link program; titled respectively The University of Sing Sing and First Degree.
A recent (August 2013) Rand Corporation study found that inmates who participated in correctional education programs had a 43% lower expectation of returning to prison. Rand found that of approximately 700,000 individuals who leave federal and state prisons, 50% return within 3 years. Hudson Link program boasts an even lower recidivism rate of less than 2%.
Re-entry into mainstream society is a challenge and Hudson Link @ St. Francis will provide students with a safe place to go during that time. Our college-based mentors, including graduates of Hudson Link, are familiar with the specific set of issues and barriers to post-prison life.
We also collaborate with NYU Law School, with NYU law students and graduate students offering free tutoring and mentorship to Hudson Link @ SFC students. Throughout the year, Hudson Link @ SFC students attend social and cultural events with mentors from NYU Law School, faculty members of St. Francis College and representatives of Hudson Link.
“Colleges promote public safety when they open their doors to people with criminal records who demonstrate the commitment and qualifications to pursue a college education.” [i]
Hudson Link @ St. Francis helps formerly incarcerated people break the cycle of crime and poverty – and complete college. For more information or to donate, contact Dr. Emily Horowitz (firstname.lastname@example.org or 718.489.5446).
Hudson Link @ St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201
[i] See: http://www.communityalternatives.org/pdf/Reconsidered-criminal-hist-recs-in-college-admissions.pdf.
Post-Prison College Opportunity Program 1st Entering Class, Fall 2014, with Hudson Link and SFC Staff
Pictured (L to R): Arielle, Emily Patka (Hudson Link Staff), Felix, Todd Young (Hudson Link Alumnus), Emily Horowitz (SFC Program Director), Tara, Andy, & Johnny.
Hudson Link @ St. Francis is led by a team at St. Francis College and Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison www.hudsonlink.org which includes:
St. Francis College Faculty Co-Directors:
- Sara Haviland
- Emily Horowitz
- Nickie Phillips
- Eric Platt
Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison:
- Sean Pica, Executive Director
- Todd Young, Alumni Coordinator
Higher education is one of the most power deterrents to crime and reincarceration. College transforms a person’s sense of self and the ways that a person relates to his or her family, community, and the world. In this sense, higher education transforms the lives of students and their children and promotes lasting transitions out of prison1. Study after study has demonstrated that education, particularly higher education, is one of the most effective ways to break cycles of poverty, incarceration and re-incarceration because higher education creates “[i]nroads of advanced education in communities that suffer from a chronic lack of access.2”
- Recidivism rates for incarcerated people who had participated in prison education programs were on average 46 percent lower than the rates of incarcerated people who had not taken college classes.3
- 90% of jobs in the fastest growing occupational groups require postsecondary education.4
- The inverse relationship between degree level and recidivism rate is not surprising given that a college education has become one of the most valuable assets in the United States. A bachelor’s degree is now worth more than $2.8 million in lifetime earnings.5
- Among those who start at the bottom rung of the income ladder, 45% remain there in adulthood if they do not have a college degree compared to only 20% who do so if they obtain a degree.6
1 Fine, M., et al., 2001, Changing Minds: The Impact of College in a Maximum Security Prison," (2001), available at web.gc.cuny.edu/che/changing_minds.pdf. ; Steurer, S.J. and Smith, L. G., 2003, Education Reduces Crime: Three State Recidivism Study, Management & Training Corporation, Centerville, Utah. Available at http://www.mtctrains.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/0 :Open Society Institute. 1997. Education as Crime Prevention: Providing Education to Prisoners. Research Brief, Occasional Paper Series No. 2. Author.
2 Karpowitz, D., & Kenner, M. (n.d.). Education and Crime Prevention: The Case for Reinstating Pell Grant Eligibility for the Incarcerated. New York: Bard College.
3 Chappell, Cathryn A. 2004. Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Recidivism: A Meta-Analysis of Research Conducted 1990-1999. Journal of Correctional Education 55(2): 148-69.
4 National Governor’s Association. 2010. Help Wanted: Matching Jobs to Degrees. Complete to Compete, Briefing Paper, Author. Available at 2010
5 Carnevale, A.P., Rose, S.J. and Cheah, B. 2011. The College Payoff: Education, Occupation and Lifetime Earnings. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Available at http://cew.georgetown.edu/publications/reports/
6 Pew Charitable Trusts. 2012. Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations. Washington, DC: Author. Available at http://www.pewstates.org/research/reports