This partnership with the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, begun in 2015, supports educational access for those formerly or currently incarcerated in the Berkshire County House of Correction (BCHOC). In fall 2016, when several Williams students attended an orientation and tour of the facility in Pittsfield, some were taken aback by the new environment they had been invited to tutor in. Still, they were inspired to serve by a recognition of the importance of P3’s mission.
From December 2016 to April 2017, Omar Kawam ’20, Diana Sanchez ’17, and Timothy Suh ’18, drove weekly to the 2nd St. Reentry Office in Pittsfield where they taught a recently released individual Writing, Reading, and Math to pass his HiSET exam. Under the supervision of BHoC staff, tutoring continued through the summer of 2017 in the Pittsfield correctional facility as two inmates sought to work towards their diplomas.
The tutoring initiative is poised to grow and improve even more in 2017-18 with plans to add another early evening (5:30-7pm) of tutoring to the Thursday slot. After a summer of strong recruitment to better serve the tutoring needs both in and outside the jail, Dr. Laura Muller, Williams’ Director of Quantitative Skills Programs and Peer Support, will help the tutors develop tutoring syllabi and a communication system that will help them work more effectively individually and as a team.
Even as tutoring in such settings may be out of some people’s comfort zone, Williams students and inmates alike are grateful for the rewarding experience. Along with the regularly taught Inside-Out Williams course, P3 strives to strengthen relations between the two institutions and offer larger number of individuals hope in the possibility of new beginnings.
For more information, please contact Sharif Rosen ([email protected]).