Focus magazine, Fall 2016: Unlocking lives
Postsecondary programs go behind prison walls to forge new futures
Today, more than ever, successful second chances depend on high-quality postsecondary education. And that’s what this issue of Lumina Foundation Focus is about. It goes behind the walls of the nation’s correctional facilities to examine postsecondary programs that serve the people who need those programs most. In this issue of Focus, you’ll read some inspiring personal stories. For example:
- You’ll meet Tyrone Werts, who spent 36 years behind bars after being sentenced to life imprisonment at age 23 when his partners in a Philadelphia robbery wound up killing one of their victims. Today, five years after his sentence was commuted, Werts helps lead the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, an educational initiative he helped create while incarcerated.
- You’ll learn about Alelur “Alex” Duran, a Bronx native who is up for parole this November, ending a 12-year prison term that included long stretches in solitary confinement. Fortunately, Duran’s incarceration was also marked by his involvement in the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI), a nationally known program founded in 1999 by students at Bard College in New York. Duran earned his GED in prison and, thanks to BPI, is thriving in postsecondary education — even participating on BPI’s intercollegiate debate team.
- You’ll read about James Monteiro, a Providence, R.I., native who spent two decades behind bars after racking up multiple felony convictions in five states. Released from a Maryland prison in 2009, Monteiro returned to his hometown and vowed to turn his life around. His first step was to enroll in College Unbound, an innovative educational program for nontraditional learners. Today, College Unbound is a nationwide success story, and Monteiro is the founder and director of its Prison Bridge Program.