College in Prison: Disrupting the Prison to Poverty Pipeline

Thursday, July 23, 2020 2:00pm - 3:30pm CDT

This MCF member briefing will focus on issues involving mass incarceration in Minnesota and nationally.

One way to interrupt the prison to poverty pipeline is to provide people who are in prison with substantial education followed with job placement. College in prison drastically reduces recidivism rates and provides a substantial boost to economic mobility.

Presenters will report on the kinds of work that can make a real difference.

This event is co-sponsored by MCF members the McKnight Foundation, Northwest Area Foundation, Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation, and Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF).  

This briefing is offered in collaboration with Interfaith Action’s Annual Assembly which offers a gift of thought leadership to Minnesota’s faith community and related community leaders. Each of the speakers at the MCF briefing will also speak at Interfaith Action’s Annual Assembly on July 14 (via Zoom).


Governor Walz has chosen to make Minnesota a leader in prison reform and in education in prison.  We should all be aware of this work and understand the enormous difference it can make in our communities.  The Governor has brought to Minnesota Daniel Karpowitz, who was a leader in the Bard Prison Initiative, which is featured in the recent Ken Burns documentary, “College Behind Bars”. Karpowitz, now employed as the Assistant Commissioner for policy at the Minnesota Department of Corrections and as interagency lead and special advisor to Governor Tim Walz on criminal justice, will be one of our speakers.  We will come to understand what our philanthropic community can do to support this important work.


The session will be led by James Jeter, an alum of the Wesleyan College in Prison program. James is now on staff with the Yale Prison Education Initiative. He will talk about his experiences from a personal perspective.

Accompanying speakers include Zelda Roland, Director of the Yale Prison Education Initiative, and Daniel Karpowitz, Assistant Commissioner for Policy at the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

The session will be moderated by Otis Zander, CEO of Ujamaa Place. 

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