District Attorney of New York Criminal Justice Investment Initiative


The College-In-Prison Reentry Program is a $7.3 million initiative to fund educational programming and academic reentry services over five years at 17 New York State prisons. This is a joint initiative by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

The aim of the College-in-Prison Reentry Program is to significantly increase the likelihood of successful reentry by ensuring that incarcerated students have the tools they need to continue their education and gain employment upon release. Incarcerated students earn course credit towards an associate’s or bachelor’s degree or an industry-recognized certificate.

The Prisoner Reentry Institute (PRI) and the State University of New York (SUNY) serve as the program’s technical assistance providers. PRI and SUNY support college programs to ensure academic quality and the facilitation of academic reentry planning activities that reflect best practices.

Academic reentry planning activities include:

  • Meeting with incarcerated students one-on-one and in groups to discuss academic goals, pathways to degree completion, and career opportunities related to students’ areas of study.
  • Providing incarcerated students with up-to-date information (and contacts) on academic, career, and related opportunities in the community – including at the college the incarcerated student is currently enrolled in, at other colleges in the community, and at community-based agencies.
  • Assisting incarcerated students in obtaining the necessary documentation to continue their education when they return to community. Such documentation includes academic transcripts, immunization records, government-issued identification documents, and letters of reference as required by college admission departments.
  • Supporting incarcerated students with financial planning for continued education. These activities include assisting students to get student loans out of default, complete FAFSA and TAP applications, collect federal and state tax transcripts, apply for scholarships, and attain letters of reference as required for most scholarship applications.


The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) works closely with college providers and other stakeholders to ensure the success of college programs and incarcerated students participating within the College-in-Prison Reentry Program.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office (DANY) funds the College-in-Prison Reentry Program via its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative.

The CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG) oversees the operations of the College-in-Prison Reentry Program in partnership with DOCCS, DANY, the college providers, and the technical assistance providers. ISLG measures the efficacy of the program and will develop a set of best practices for successful prison education and academic reentry programs in New York State.

There are seven college providers who currently receive funding and technical assistance through this initiative:

  • Bard College provides college programming at Taconic, Coxsackie, Eastern, Fishkill, Green Haven, and Woodbourne correctional facilities;
  • Cornell University provides college programming at Cayuga, Auburn, Elmira, and Five Points correctional facilities;
  • Medaille College provides college programming at Albion correctional facility;
  • Mercy College provides college programming at Sing Sing correctional facility;
  • Mohawk Valley Community College (SUNY) provides college programming at Marcy correctional facility;
  • New York University provides college programming at Wallkill correctional facility; and
  • Jefferson Community College (SUNY) provides college programming at Cape Vincent and Watertown correctional facilities, and will soon provide college programming at Gouverneur.