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Prisoner Express: Support Education, Humanity and Rehabilitation

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
109 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on May 08, at 12:00 AM EDT
Project Owners

Prisoner Express: Support Education, Humanity and Rehabilitation

Every semester, hundreds of Cornell students are involved in providing distance learning programs and personal correspondence to over 4000 prisoners across the United States – giving them a way to step through the isolation and alienation of prison life and develop skills needed for life on the outside. 

I’ve never heard of any organization providing the sorts and quality of programs that your group has produced. Texas provides hardly anything in the way of real education or rehabilitation to begin with, and provides less, it seems, with each passing year. Your efforts are greatly needed, and more important than ever. Stephen N. Alexander # 1234298

Prisoner Express is a project of the Center for Transformative Action and has been providing these services since 2004. The newsletters feature upcoming programs that prisoners can participate in like arts and crafts, poetry, and journal writing.  It also showcases prisoner work and invites new members to join. You can read the most recent newsletter here.

Artwork of Len Whitman

I just wanted to say thanks for all the work that you and all the others are doing for PE because it’s done so well, and I enjoy receiving my copy…Thanks for your devotion to PE and to all of us in prisons. It means a great deal to receive things from you. Ron Lopez # V70887

Our newsletters reach thousands of people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and connect them with the many programs and volunteers who support them.

I wish to say thank you, you are truly a blessing not only to me, but to the rest of the brothers I pass them on to. Doug Stoney Burden #1160823

The goal is to bring hope and foster a sense of community among the prisoners who participate.  And it's not just prisoners who benefit.  Cornell student volunteers have repeatedly said how being involved with PE has connected them to a world much larger than the university.


By participating in this project, students become sensitive to the issues of  mass incarceration. In fact, many Cornell student volunteers become lifelong agents for reforming the system to effectively rehabilitate incarcerated individuals.


How you can help.


Our crowdfunding goal is to raise $5,000 to cover costs for mailing personal letters and educational programming, shipping books, publishing a volume of the PE poetry anthology, and printing and mailing the bi-annual newsletter.


Any amount will help build the momentum for this campaign and make the world a better place. Your support today will give leverage to the student volunteers, helping to fund programs that can touch the lives of thousands of people incarcerated in the United States.

I thank everyone, the volunteers, the students, and anyone else who helps make this newsletter possible. I thank you also for your time, attention, and concern. I send my utmost love and respects to the whole PE staff. Jeremy Lowrance #1236724

Bear made entirely out of folded squares of paper. Artist unknown.

Gifts of support of any amount are welcome and appreciated. If you would like to discuss additional ways to make a substantial gift to Prisoner Express in support of our programming, please contact Gary Fine, Program Director at  or 607-255-6486.


Cornell was founded on the vision of "any person, any study," and for nearly fifteen years, the Prisoner Express program has worked towards this ideal by giving prisoners a chance to connect, heal, and share their expression with the outside world. With your support students and volunteers can continue creating programs to serve prisoners throughout the U.S. with these opportunities.

Work like yours and that of others I have encountered during this experience has inspired me to explore opportunities to do similar work when I’m released or to at least contribute to ongoing efforts.  James Goggans #1453217


Choose a giving level


Mail Call

Volunteers personally respond to the letters and journals that prisoners mail in. Many prisoners have shared that receiving these handwritten correspondences has helped them cope with the loneliness and isolation of incarceration. A donation in this amount could buy a book of 20 stamps so participants can hear their name at mail call.


Boxes of Books

What are prisoners requesting to read? Alex, one of our student volunteers, hand-picks books for participants based on their interests. Philosophy, fiction, and dictionaries are popular requests. Other volunteers package and post them. A donation of this amount is like paying the postage to send two large packages of donated books to prisoners.


Mailing PE Programs

In addition to requesting books, prisoners can enroll in a variety of courses about history, science, crafts, creative writing, psychology, and meditation, just to name a few. Support at this level could fund programming costs like the postage to mail 250 distance learning packets via USPS bulk mail.


Printing Educational Lessons

Many of these educational packets contain lesson plans created by Cornell students. A donation in this amount could cover the cost of printing 100 twenty-eight page volunteer-developed distance learning lessons.


Prison Poet Laureates

The PE Poetry Program is equally popular among prisoners and Cornell student volunteers. Help fund programming costs like the printing and mailing of an edition of the PE Poetry Anthology to 500 prisoner-poets when you choose to give at this level.


PE Newsletter Publisher

Your donation could help with expenses associated with publishing and distributing an edition of the PE newsletter to over 4000 active members. Often newsletters will find their way into the hands of folks who aren't members but want to join PE. This is how the program has grown so quickly. And it continues to do so!


Slaughterhouse-Five Book Club

Prisoners can participate in a community read. This season's pick is Slaughterhouse-Five. Your gift may help provide postage to mail out a copy of Vonnegut's classic novel to participants in the PE Book Club.


Prisoner Express Endowment

Gifts of any amount are welcome and appreciated. If you would like to discuss additional ways to make a substantial gift to Prisoner Express in support of our programming, please contact Gary Fine, Program Director at or 607-255-6486.