Founded in 2014, The Tuition-Free Post-Prison Program has 11 enrolled students as well as 3 graduates.
(Pictured from left to right: Johnny Perez, Felix Colon and Arielle Pierre at their graduation from SFC in 2018)
Johnny Perez ‘18 is the Director of U.S. Prisons Program for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, a membership organization committed to ending U.S. sponsored torture, and cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, including solitary confinement. Of his 13 years in prison, three were spent in solitary confinement. A Criminal Justice major, Johnny served as a Safe Reentry Advocate for the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project. He has worked as a member of pro-social groups the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC), and the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Johnny has testified at the United Nations and been interviewed by numerous news organizations around the world. Recently featured in an ad campaign that ran in the New York subway system, Johnny commented, “I remember when I was younger, I was homeless after running away from home and slept on the A train for two weeks. Today I’m still on the train, but in a different way and for a reason I never could have imagined.” (Learn more about Johnny at justiceismypassion.com)
Felix Colon ‘18 is a Sociology major who loved being a student at SFC. In addition to attending a great number of lectures and events at St. Francis, he also learned to swim. A highlight of his SFC career was meeting civil rights legend Bernard Lafayette. Felix participated in a non-violence program developed by Lafayette while he was incarcerated, and loved having the opportunity to hear him speak as a full-time college student successfully overcoming the stigma of almost 2 decades in prison and the challenges of re-entry. Felix plans to continue his education, either in Law School or pursuing a graduate degree.
Arielle Pierre ‘18 is a Sociology major with a concentration in Social Work. Arielle struggled growing up after her mother was sent to prison. Like many children with a parent in prison, she eventually wound up behind bars herself. After prison, Arielle decided to change her life and entered St. Francis. She hopes to pursue a degree in social work. Arielle’s mother also earned multiple degrees after completing prison, and is currently finishing her dissertation on the effects of intergenerational incarceration.