Dear Friends,

     Another busy semester is drawing to a close! Our newest students are now preparing for their first round of final exams, while our 3rd-year students polish off a term of upper-level seminars.
The holidays are an important time for us to reflect on our mission and assess our accomplishments over this past year. We feel immense gratitude for our supporters and all those who make the CPE a vibrant and dynamic initiative. As we take comfort in this season of celebration, we also pause to consider all the hard work that is still ahead.

As our program expands to include new cohorts and a new prison, our 
fundraising efforts must keep up. Through the generosity of one of our sponsors, the CPE is matching all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $20,000 through March 15th.
As you consider ways to give back this holiday season, think instead of how to pay it forward: help us give the gift of a Wesleyan education to dozens of imprisoned men and women, knowing that this gift will ripple across the community for years to come. If you choose to donate to the CPE in honor of a loved one, we will send them a holiday card -drawn by one of our students- to show our gratitude.
We are a small program, funded exclusively by grants and individual donations. Every single dollar helps. Turn your dollar into two, and put them to work: Donate now to the Center for Prison Education.
Wishing you happy holidays,
Cathy, Lexi, and Russell 
First Released CPE Student Enrolling at University of Connecticut
Mr. Rivera speaks at the CPE's Commemoration Ceremony 

After being released on parole in October, CPE alum Antonio Rivera applied and gained admission to the University of Connecticut as a transfer student from Wesleyan. With financial support from a Federal Pell Grant, he plans to pursue a bachelors of arts in Urban and Community Studies beginning this January.


Of his experience he relates, "thanks to the CPE I was able to be accepted into the University of Connecticut. My acceptance at UConn felt equivalent to an acceptance back into society. I hope to lead by example for other individuals who face similar disadvantages." An ongoing member of the Wesleyan community, we wish him the very best of luck on this exciting next step.

Student Perspective: Bashaun Brown


CPE student Bashawn Brown offers us a glimpse into his first semester at Wesleyan.

The beauty of a liberal arts education is the diversity of information and perspectives that one receives. Our first semester here at WES: Cheshire Campus has been a vigorous introduction to scholastic learning. The professors responsible for this introduction, Beth Richards and Chris Anderson, have treated us with a level of respect for our intelligence and motivation that most of us have not experienced hitherto.

Since the first day of class, Professor Richards instilled in us the conviction that we are scholars in the making. She has pushed us to discover our 'inner writer' by showing us the fundamentals. She gives difficult assignments to show us our weaknesses, but is not judgmental of our educational upbringing -or lack thereof.

Professor Anderson has introduced us to some of the greatest minds in political and philosophical thought: Socrates, Plato, Machiavelli, Marx, Nietzsche, Fanon, Fawls, Bentham, Mill, Camus and Homer. Every Friday I look forward to coming to class so I can exercise my intellectual acuity, and learn from his. The theories that the philosophers write about are polarizing and, after the first comment, each student quickly chooses sides. In the beginning, the class was so fast-paced that some of the guys opted out of the debates. Now everyone participates. As far as I'm concerned, this freshman class is off to a great start.

Volunteer Spotlight: Zachary Fischman


Hometown:  Sag Harbor, New York


Wesleyan Class Year: 2013


Major:  College of Letters (COL)


How did you become involved with the CPE? In the first semester of my freshman year, I took a First Year Initiative (FYI) course called "The Real McCoy: Constructing Identity" with Professor Priscilla Meyer in the Russian De-partment. I had a wonderful experience in her class, and when the time came for her to teach it again, she invited me to be the TA. When she found out that her course had been chosen for the CPE, she asked me to perform the same duty in the prison.


What is your favorite aspect of this work? Specifically, it is engaging in conversation at such a high level with these incredibly bright people. Their eloquence, acumen, and skill in close reading allow them to spring into the highest realms of discussion. This forces me to look at familiar texts - those I've read for five or more years - in new and more difficult ways.


How do you think this experience has impacted your educational experience at Wesleyan? I've been impacted most strongly by a new sense of accountability. The Cheshire cohort has held me very intensely to my words - both in conversation and in writing - and that has carried over directly into my day-to-day work at Wesleyan. Immediately, their influence has made me read and check my own work more diligently. But in a larger sense, I plan out what I say in advance, and it has made me healthily reticent.


What is something everyone should know about the CPE? That there are a million different ways in which you can help out! And you should!


image by CPE student Jason Peters
Wesleyan Center for Prison Education
167 High Street, first floor
Middletown, CT 06459
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