On October 13, 2017, NYU's Prison Education Program awarded associate's degrees in Liberal Studies to the first graduates of the Program: Ryan Burrell, Roy Burvick, Danis Flores, Khalan Pendelton, and Vincent Thompson. NYU President Andrew Hamilton was on hand at the Wallkill Correctional Facility to hand out the diplomas and to offer congratulations. Gallatin Dean Susanne L. Wofford and PEP Faculty Director Nikhil Singh also spoke at the event and celebrated the inaugural class.
PEP launched in 2015 as a university-wide initiative that seeks to address the inequalities that shape our educational environment, offering transferable credits and resources for students that support the educational and professional goals of those in prison and those who have been released. In August 2017, NYU became one of seven colleges and universities in New York to receive a grant funded through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, a program designed to invest criminal forfeiture funds for innovative projects that improve public safety, prevent crime, and promote a fair and effective justice system.
Over the summer of 2017, the Gallatin Writing Program held an elective course in writing and editing through PEP, which resulted in Broken Silence, a volume written and edited by Wallkill students that includes the work of two recent graduates, Danis Flores and Vincent Thompson.