Petey Greene Program Implemented at Eastern University: A look inside the important work that Eastern students and faculty will accomplish through the Petey Greene Program.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, studies have revealed that recidivism rates are reduced by 43-percent for incarcerated people who have received postsecondary education. Given that 95-percent of incarcerated people return home, postsecondary education programs amplify their likelihood of obtaining employment and pursuing life outside of prison. Eastern University’s Prison Education Program (PEP) has tirelessly aimed to increase the postsecondary educational opportunities for individuals experiencing incarceration. 

Established in 2008, the Petey Greene Program (PGP) provides over 3,000 people experiencing incarceration with educational opportunities each year. The program is named after Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene, Jr., a formerly incarcerated 1960s activist and television personality who engaged in a lifelong pursuit of prison reform. Charlie Puttkammer, PGP’s founder, was so inspired by Greene’s legacy that he named the program in his honor. 

PGP envisions a world in which high-quality academic programs are accessible to people experiencing incarceration. Hence, PGP aims to inspire alumni – both students and volunteers – to become lifelong advocates, to take on leadership roles centered on reimagining the criminal legal system. 

Throughout the upcoming spring semester, Eastern students and faculty will be travelling to State Correctional Institution (SCI) Chester to provide college-level academic courses and tutoring to learners experiencing incarceration. Eastern students will serve as Teaching Assistants and tutors to their fellow students residing in SCI Chester. 

Marie Dileonardo, the division manager of the Philadelphia PGP, has explained that Eastern students who have applied and been selected as tutors will complete the mandatory, online PGP training in Jan. 2022. Tutoring will take place in-person on Thursdays beginning in mid-January and continuing throughout the spring semester. “Tutors will support incarcerated students by providing assistance with course work, reviewing assignments, and sharing study, test-taking, and note-taking skills,” Dileonardo stated. 

In addition to this, the first study hall at SCI Chester will occur in 2022. This will support Eastern students experiencing incarceration who are working towards an associate’s degree from Eastern. “This is especially meaningful work for us at PGP because we believe incarcerated people who participate in college-level courses should receive college credit and should be able to pursue a degree-bearing program if they so choose,” Dileonardo stated. 

“PGP believes that everyone deserves a chance, that we cannot discount anyone, and are responsible for each other—it is the central life-long lesson our volunteers learn when they tutor students who are incarcerated, or have been recently released,” The Petey Greene Program declares. 

If you would like more information about this program, please reach out to mdileonardo@peteygreene.org

Sources: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Petey Greene Program

Image courtesy of Waltonian | The Waltonian