Emerson Prison Initiative (EPI)

We are committed to transforming the meaning and impact of higher education in Massachusetts by making college education more accessible to people who are incarcerated.

Emerson Prison Initiative

Who We Are

EPI provides students incarcerated at Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord (MCI Concord) with an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in media, literature and culture from Emerson College.

Reentry & College Outside Program (RECOUP)

EPI’s Reentry and College Outside Program (RECOUP) provides our returning students with reentry support services including college continuity resources.

Support EPI

Your donation to the Emerson Prison Initiative allows us to facilitate student learning, grow the program and support the re-entry of the students.

Contact Us

Contact the Emerson Prison Initiative.

Our Mission

EPI’s mission is to democratize access to tertiary education for those who have been historically marginalized or otherwise unable to attend college. EPI provides a rigorous liberal arts education to individuals incarcerated in Massachusetts. We believe education is fundamentally transformative. EPI aims to offer courses that are as similar as possible to our Boston campus in order to equip all students with critical thinking and communication skills to enable them to engage, critique, and transform the world around them.

Core Values

EPI is committed to:

  • The democratization of education by finding ways to make education accessible to people traditionally excluded from it based on carceral status.
  • An approach that puts students and learning first, and treats the prison as only one site among many where we can push the frontiers of justice and equity.
  • Being a leading voice in the conversation about the purpose and efficacy of prison and who has access to education.

Welcome Note from the Director

Thank you for your interest in the Emerson Prison Initiative (EPI).

We’re proud that in 2017 Emerson College became the twelfth member of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, an umbrella organization based at the Bard Prison Initiative. Hosted by the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies here at Emerson, EPI offers Emerson College classes, taught by Emerson College faculty and bearing official Emerson College credits, to students currently incarcerated at MCI-Concord, a state-run prison. MCI-Concord is a men’s medium security facility located about 45 minutes northwest of Boston, where there has never before been sustained tertiary educational programming inside. The first cohort of accepted EPI students began coursework in fall 2017, and are diving into critical analysis, academic writing, and social science theory with much vigor.

One of my core values is the democratization of education by finding ways to make education accessible to all. Since 2016 I have been working to do just that as part of Emerson’s commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement. EPI’s work is only possible with the engagement of our community of supporters. Thank you for considering a donation to EPI, or supporting our program in whatever way is possible for you.

We invite you to be part of making education accessible to all.

mneesha_gellman [at] emerson.edu (Mneesha Gellman)title="Email Mneesha Gellman"


Photo Credits: Karen Pearson, Daniel Pedan, Derek Palmer