Prison Teaching Initiative at Princeton University to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

Walter Fortson, of the Petey Greene Program is one of the featured speakers at the Prison Teaching Initiative symposium.
Walter Fortson, the spokesman for the Petey Greene Program, is one of the featured speakers at the Prison Teaching Initiative symposium this Saturday.

The Prison Teaching Initiative at Princeton University is hosting a symposium this Saturday, May 7, on the college education of prisoners.

For the last 10 years, the Prison Teaching Initiative program has offered college-accredited courses to inmates in New Jersey’s state prisons. The goal of organization is to reduce incarceration rates in New Jersey by increasing access to post-secondary education.

Founded by members of Princeton’s department of astrophysics who began by teaching college-level algebra in prisons, volunteer faculty have taught college-accredited classes to more than 700 students in New Jersey prisons. Volunteers now teach college-accredited courses in over a dozen disciplines, including English, Arabic, Latin, religion, sociology, biology, ecology, philosophy and astronomy.

The symposium honoring the 10th anniversary of the organization will feature leading educators from across the country who are involved in teaching incarcerated students, including Doug Wood of the Ford Foundation. Wood, the keynote speaker, is a leading funder and evaluator of prison teaching programs. Formerly incarcerated students who are currently enrolled at Rutgers University also will speak at the conference.

The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. in room 204 at Princeton University’s Carl Fields Center. The Fields Center is located at 58 Prospect Avenue. The event is free and open to the public. Anyone interested in attending should RSVP by emailing Becky Day at