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The Tufts University Prison Initiative of the Tisch College of Civic Life (TUPIT) has received Honorable Mention for the 2024 MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship. TUPIT brings Tufts University faculty and students together with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, educators, organizers, corrections staff, and scholars of criminal justice to facilitate creative and collaborative responses to the problems of mass incarceration and racial injustice. Extending the vision of Tufts University and Tisch College, TUPIT is dedicated to providing transformative educational experiences that foster student, faculty, and community members’ capacities to become active citizens of change in the world.

TUPIT programming in prison and MyTERN reentry and restorative justice programming on campus incorporates professors from widely diverse fields, from Music to Biology, Philosophy to Astronomy. Professors teach in the program from a variety of different schools in this truly cross university initiative – Arts and Sciences, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, the School of Medicine, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the School of Nutrition. TUPIT incorporates numerous on-campus students in multiple ways. Some serve as Teaching Assistants for classes in prison in teams of 3 per class. They also join incarcerated students in one course each year, taking the class in the prison alongside residents. And finally, they take classes alongside formerly incarcerated students who are continuing to work on their degrees through MyTERN on campus participants in classes on campus.


The program aims 1.) to facilitate restorative justice partially through circle work and training in facilitation of listening and dialogue circles and through cross cultural exchange in the service of increasing understanding about inequality and justice for traditional Tufts students and faculty and for people impacted by the criminal legal system, 2.) to create access to rigorous and credentialing higher educational opportunities for people who would have never otherwise had this opportunity, and 3.) to increase the integration of Tufts into the communities of the greater Boston area through organizational community partnership building.

The program aims to address the problem of socio-economic inequality and racial injustice for people coming from widely diverse positions. These are concerns shared by students, faculty, administrators and communities impacted by the criminal legal system. The extraordinary enthusiasm of faculty members and traditional Tufts students about working in this program has provided evidence of their need to participate in the kind of educational experiences and social justice opportunities this program creates. Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated TUPIT students have articulated and demonstrated the value of the program through their successful reentry processes – more specifically, their ability to complete degrees and secure meaningful employment. Learn more.