This report details the scope of CUNY’s policies and programs for students impacted by the criminal legal system and explores opportunities for CUNY to better support those students.
As an engine for upward social mobility, CUNY is well positioned to promote the educational and professional advancement of students who have been historically denied access to higher education, especially students who have been involved in the criminal legal system. Higher education transforms lives, creates opportunities, and mitigates the collateral consequences of mass incarceration. This report should serve as a catalyst and foundation for developing a more comprehensive and integrated approach to welcoming and supporting students with past criminal legal system involvement at the country’s largest urban university system.
The report was derived from interviews with more than 85 colleagues within the CUNY system across 11 campuses and the CUNY Central Office. Through these interviews, the Institute for Justice and Opportunity developed recommendations in four areas: (1) creating more pathways to and through CUNY, (2) eliminating barriers to enrollment, (3) increasing CUNY’s participation in correctional education, and (4) improving communication and coordination across CUNY to support system-impacted students.