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Game-Changing Access to Academic Materials in Prison

March 1, 2024 1-minute read
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Stacy Burnett has been incarcerated three times. The third time, she was sent to a New York state prison that offered higher education opportunities—and access to JSTOR, an expansive digital library of academic articles and books frequently used by students and scholars.

Burnett was taking courses through the Bard Prison Initiative, academic programs for incarcerated students offered by Bard College, and she said access to the vast trove of academic papers available through JSTOR set her on a path that ultimately changed the course of her life. Although her coursework was focused on public health, she developed a “fascination” with Oscar Wilde and spent hours reading academic materials on the author.

“I lost myself in those archives,” Burnett said. “I didn’t feel like I was in prison when I had JSTOR available to me.”

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