A guest post by Les Gilbert, Director of the School of Adult and Distance Learning
On January 22nd, I was honored to attend the graduation ceremony for the Nyack College adult students who reside at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Fishkill, NY. Twenty-four men changed their lives for the better by deciding to finish their bachelors’ degrees during their incarceration. The graduates and their family members celebrated that decision together on this special day.
The School of Adult and Distance Education (SADE) at Nyack College has offered this program at Fishkill and other New York prisons for many years. And the results are impressive. The recidivism rate for people released from prison is a tragic 60 percent. But if an inmate earns a degree, that rate drops dramatically to a mere 1 percent. The Nyack College program is thus a major contributor to the community of New York.
It is difficult to express how inspirational these twenty-four graduates are. Nyack College President Dr. Michael Scales expressed our feelings well when he opened the ceremony by addressing the graduation class as follows: “I know you men wrote in your program that you were proud to be Nyack alumni now. But let me tell you that we, at Nyack, are the ones who are proud to be involved with you men.”
The degree completion program is a rigorous undertaking. And the core program is the same for everyone—no matter where one resides. To see the success of these inmates is not only exciting to witness but also truly matters in our world. You can see the joy on some of the faces of those in attendance here (Photos by Babita Patel).
Nyack College is privileged to work with Sean Pica and the entire team at Hudson Link, our partner and the catalyst of the program at New York correctional facilities. Nyack College plans to continue the partnership with Hudson Link and Fishkill Correctional Facility. If you would like to learn more about the program go to hudsonlink.org. If you would like to give to the program, go here.