The Prison Project receives $364,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

January 20, 2021

Shot of students participating in the prison project

The Prison Project at Quinnipiac has received a $364,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Prison Project aims to advance social justice through progressive, humane and empirically based solutions to crime. Since 2011, Quinnipiac has partnered with Trinity College to provide free, post-secondary education to women at York Correctional Institution. Since 2016, The Prison Project has sponsored the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program for men at the Garner and Robinson correctional institutions and, more recently, to women at York Correctional Institution.

“The Prison Project is a terrific example of the interdisciplinary collaboration our law school has been able to sustain with Quinnipiac faculty across campus in political science, sociology and criminal justice in the College of Arts and Sciences, along with partners from other universities in Connecticut,” said School of Law Dean Jennifer Gerarda Brown. “I am very proud of my law school faculty  colleagues, including Linda Meyer, Carolyn Kaas and Toni Robinson, who have taught a variety of courses over the years at York Correctional, and grateful for the critical role they played in securing the Mellon Foundation grant.”

Inside-Out allows on-campus students to learn alongside incarcerated students. The Prison Project also offers post-secondary classes in sociology and criminal justice to men at Garner Correctional Institution. In addition, The Prison Project offers seminars, presentations and programs based on the idea that reforming punishment practices in the United States requires a communion of activists, scholars, students and teachers.

“We really are a collective of teachers, activists and scholars dedicated to humanizing our justice practices,” said Stephen McGuinn, associate professor of criminal justice, director of the prison project, and director of criminal justice at Quinnipiac. “We seek effective alternatives to the warehousing of millions of men and women in prisons and jails in America — alternatives that improve social bonds, reduce isolation and stigmatization, and provide transferrable skills that ultimately make the world safer and the body politic stronger, richer, more creative and more innovative.

“We tend to forget that most people who go to prison will eventually get out,” McGuinn added. “The grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation not only allows us to expand our programming, but also allows us to help ensure there is a way back into society for currently and formerly incarcerated men and women. We are truly thankful for the Mellon Foundation’s incredible generosity.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the largest supporter of the arts and humanities in the United States.

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