Prison Program Awarded $50,000 Alumni Class Fund Grant

Bettina McGimsey, Development Associate, Experimental Study Group

Lee PerlmanExperimental Study Group (ESG) Instructor Lee Perlman has received a $50,000 grant from the Alumni Class Fund for his Initiative for Socially Engaged Academics, through which he and other MIT staff teach classes that combine students from MIT with students in prisonThe courses have been piloted through ESG and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and are offered in collaboration with Boston University (BU). BU operates the Prison Education Program, the only program in the country that grants bachelor’s degrees to incarcerated students through an in-house university program. Classes take place inside MCI Norfolk and MCI Framingham prisons, and are typically comprised of roughly 10 prison students and 10 MIT students.

The grant will help Perlman and other MIT colleagues organize their course offerings into a cohesive program to ensure that courses take place every semester; raise awareness of this opportunity with other MIT staff, thereby increasing the number of classes taught; and institutionalize the courses by giving them a place in the MIT course catalog, along with a number. They will also offer discussion events on the MIT campus where students who have been involved can share and process their experiences with each other and other MIT students, as well as participate in learning events that enhance the experience.

For more information about the joint prison/MIT program, contact Lee Perlman at