College Behind Bars

Explore the transformative power of education through the eyes of a dozen incarcerated men and women trying to earn college degrees – and a chance at new beginnings – from one of the country’s most rigorous prison education programs. A film by Lynn Novick.

Program Website

Funding for College Behind Bars is provided by Bank of America; PBS; Ford Foundation / JustFilms; National Endowment for the Humanities; Meg & Tomas Bergstrand; Regina K. Scully; The Lise Strickler & Mark Gallogly Charitable Fund; a fund at The New York Community Trust; Patty Quillin through the Meadow Fund at Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Barbara & Richard Novick; Chicken & Egg Pictures; The William H. Donner Foundation; Hartley Film Foundation; Bertha Foundation; The Harnisch Foundation; Compton Foundation; and Lisa Philp; and members of The Better Angels Society: John & Catherine Debs, The Cousins Foundation, Inc., Abrams Foundation, Schwartz/Reisman Foundation, Ted Dintersmith & Elizabeth Hazard, McCloskey Family Charitable Trust, and Donna & Dick Strong

Recent Episode

Part 3: 'Every Single Word Matters'


The debate team faces rival West Point, and the students’ senior projects get underway.

Full Episodes View All Episodes

Part 4: 'Home is a Work in Progress'


As graduation nears, students grapple with the past and some face the realities of release

Part 1: 'No One Ever Taught Me Any of That.'


Meet the incarcerated students enrolled in one of America's most rigorous college programs

Part 2: 'I'm Trying to Get Home to My Family, Too.'


Learn more about the students' personal stories and the challenges of college in prison.