Bronxville News

Bronxville High School sophomores
Bronxville, NY

Bronxville High School sophomores recently explored Stephen King’s “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” in their English classes and crafted prison reform proposals as a culmination to their studies. To further deepen their understanding, they also traveled to the Jacob Burns Film Center to watch a documentary about a group of incarcerated men who become counselors.

“The documentary entitled, ‘The 50,’ followed the unprecedented journey of a group of incarcerated men in California who challenged society’s expectations of them to become certified substance abuse counselors while in prison,” teacher Sarah Cumiskey said.

Following the documentary, the students connected with the film’s director, Brenton Gieser, as well as Sean Pica, a founding member of the Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, that runs out of Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York.

For their prison reform proposal projects, the students researched recidivism rates and rehabilitation programs in the United States and internationally. They created presentations and identified what is currently wrong with the prison system before proposing specific initiatives to help prisoners beyond bars. 

“The students created programs that had specific goals, explained how the program would be implemented in the prison, determined how they would engage prisoners, outlined expectations for what was needed in terms of materials, and looked at how this program would benefit the greater community,” teacher Samantha Langskaill said.

Some of the proposals included educational programs where inmates can earn their high school or college diplomas, and others created sports leagues and restructured the physical layout of the prison to mirror prisons in Norway, which is a country with the lowest recidivism rates.

Bronxville High School sophomores