Dear Friends of the Emerson Prison Initiative:

2018-19 was a fantastic academic year for EPI! Our students’ skills grew by leaps and bounds with courses from Kimberly McLarin, Miranda Banks, Eiki Satake, Josh Polster, and Keri Thompson. From literature to mathematics, EPI students are excelling across the curriculum. 

In 2019-2020, EPI will expand to offer eight classes at MCI Concord. Emerson faculty teaching this year are Stephen Shane, Eric Gordon, Ougie Pak, Mako Yoshikawa, and Nancy Allen. We also welcome Brandeis University professors Carol Osler and John Plotz, and Clark University faculty Shelly Tenenbaum.

Support from Partakers and the Petey Greene Program

All EPI courses also continue to be supported by tutors from the Petey Greene Program, as well as mentors from the Partakers Organization.

The Partakers College Behind Bars Mentoring Program works by assigning mentor teams to incarcerated students, meeting with them during visiting hours. These mentors support the socio-emotional growth of incarcerated students and serve as a caring community where students can talk through many of the life issues that directly impact college success.

Arthur Bembury, Partakers Executive Director, notes “Our mentors are extremely impressed with the skillsets being displayed by the Emerson students that they mentor at Concord, and the richness and dignity the EPI affords the students. As an Emerson student recently wrote over the summer:

This semester is almost over and I will really miss my professors and tutors. I am really enjoying the college experience and not only have I learned a lot, I have also noticed how much I have grown as an individual. 

Partakers, our board and staff are grateful for this amazing partnership with the Emerson Prison Initiative, and look forward to nourishing the relationship well into the future as we work together in helping incarcerated people to reach a higher potential.”

The Petey Greene Program is a second key partner for EPI, and matches their tutors with EPI classes. These tutors run study halls that support EPI courses by helping with assignment preparation, facilitate conversations about readings, screen course films, and expand course content beyond what is discussed in class. Petey Greene operates in over ten prisons, jails, community corrections, and youth facilities in Massachusetts, supporting programs including adult basic education, English as a new language, high school equivalency, and college-level courses. At MCI Concord, all EPI courses have corresponding Petey Greene study halls.
EPI is grateful to both Partakers and Petey Greene for collaborating with us to work toward student success!
Administrative Update

EPI Director Mneesha Gellman has secured more than $15,000 in external donations to EPI in the last year, including a second year of funding from the Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation. The generosity of the Shaw Foundation will fund two additional EPI courses, and private donations will support one further class this year.

The EPI Faculty Advisory Committee for 2019-2020, a standing committee of the Liberal Arts Council, includes: Cara Moyer-Duncan, Eileen McBride, Yasser Munif, Eric Gordon, and Josh Polster. We are also happy to welcome Tina Dent and Emily Belanger from the Iwasaki Library to the Committee. We thank them for their leadership as EPI grows and expands.
Upcoming Events

Please join us at Emerson College’s 2019 Teach-in on Race, for an EPI panel discussion, on Friday, October 18th, from 1:45 - 2:45, at the Greene Theatre. There will be a breakout session hosted by EPI and featuring speakers from Partakers, Petey Greene, and Black and Pink.

We also encourage you to join us for a screening of In Their Shoes: Unheard Stories of Reentry & Recovery, on Thursday, October 17th, at 6:30 pm in the Beard Room, 150 Boylston Street. The screening will be followed by a discussion with returned citizens featured in the film, and Emerson’s own Cheryl Buchanan. 

If you are not a member of the Emerson community, please RSVP to ensure that you have access to these events.

We are only able to expand course offerings and support the program with the help of donations, so please consider a gift to EPI! 

Please explore our website for further updates on the program
and for information on events at Emerson’s Boston campus.