Woodbourne Correctional Facility inmate and Bard College student Abdullah Kamau Sankofa (left) studies in the computer room. He was been sentenced to 18 years in prison at the age of 17. Bill Doane (55) is one of his mentors.

Brooklyn-based German photographer, Stefan Falke made a series of photographs of the Bard Prison Initiative for a 2010 Die Zeit story.

I’m a huge fan of prison education programs and certainly college levels instruction. The interactions and the learning can shatter stereotypes. Falke’s photos do the same.

Former inmate Carlos Rosario, 35-year-old husband and father of four, was released from Woodbourne Correctional Facility after serving more than 12 years for armed robbery. Rosario is one of the students participating in the Bard Prison Initiative, a privately-funded program that offers inmates at five New York State prisons the opportunity to work toward a college degree from Bard College. The program is competitive, accepting only 15 new students at each facility every other year. Carlos Rosario received the Bachelor of Arts degree in social studies from the prestigious College Saturday, just a few days after his release. He had been working on it for the last six years. His senior thesis was titled “The Diet of Punishment: Prison Food and Penal Practice in the Post-Rehabilitative Era,” Rosario is credited with developing a garden in one of the few green spaces inside the otherwise cement-heavy prison. In the two years since the garden’s foundation, it has provided some of the only access the prison’s 800 inmates have to fresh vegetables and fruit. Rosario now works for a recycling company in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
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