Inmates Receive Associate’s Degrees Under Yale-University of New Haven Partnership

Yale-UNH partnership

Inmates Receive Associate’s Degrees Under Yale-University of New Haven Partnership

There are some new graduates in town!

Marcus Harvin is one of seven graduates who went back to the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Connecticut on Friday to get his associate degree in general studies from the University of New Haven.

The men make up the first cohorts of graduates from a collaboration between UNH’s Prison Education Program and the Yale Prison Education Initiative.

In 2021, Yale and UNH formed a partnership to offer the student-inmates a path to two- and four-year degrees. The program, which provides classes at McDougall-Walker and the federal women’s jail in Danbury, is now a part of a consortium that encompasses 15 colleges and prison systems around the United States.

Yale-UNH partnership

Zelda Roland, a Yale alumna, established the program in 2016. It was modeled on a similar program she participated in when employed by Wesleyan University.

Roland, who serves as the director of the partnership, said,

“We believe that this is a transformative program, that it has the potential to make a generational impact. We believe that we’re transforming not just individual student’s lives, but also the institutions that we work in, both the universities and correctional system.”

Approximately 20% of prisoners acquire some kind of higher education while they are incarcerated, according to UNH officials. And research has shown that individuals who do are less likely to exhibit negative conduct while incarcerated and or commit crimes after being let out.

Harvin servd six years in prison for a drunken driving accident that injured his two young children and received widespread media attention. Given the rarity of studying in prison, he said attending Yale means a great deal.

Harvin shared,

“People even think I’m lying sometimes, so I’ll show them my jail I.D. and my Yale I.D.”

He added,

“We define our own futures and today is the start of that. You learn from the past, but you define your own future. And what happens in your future is going to be your legacy. And I want you to have a really important story to tell.”

Yale-UNH partnership

theJasmineBRAND sends our best wishes to all the graduates!


Authored by: S. G.