Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Reform (HOPE)

Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Reform (HOPE) continues to tutor and teach youth, men, and women in local correctional facilities, with its volunteers engaging in prison reform advocacy

Application Information:

To learn more about volunteering with HOPE, email hope@pbha.org

Student Director Contact Information:

Leah Yared, Executive Director: leahyared@college.harvard.edu


Staff Contact Information:

Nicole Young



Scholarship Information

PBHA HOPE provides scholarships for continuing educational or personal development for persons involved in criminal justice. If you are interested in the scholarship, please click here to download the application PDF, which contains additional information and instructions on the scholarship and application process. If you have any questions or concerns, please email hope@pbha.org.


Formed in the 1950s, the PBHA Prisons Committee sought to address the struggles of inmates seeking an education through teaching programs in local prisons and jails. By the early 1970s, student leaders of the Prisons Committee argued that their educational programs were not enough – the Committee needed to address structural problems with the prison system through advocacy and organizing.

Over the next three decades, though it shifted members, locations, and approaches, the Committee continued to offer educational opportunities along with advocacy for structural change. In 2001, this committee formed Harvard Students for Prison Reform to reach a wider audience and invite students from Harvard and beyond to engage in these issues.

Today, PBHA’s Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Reform (HOPE) continues to tutor and teach youth, men, and women in local correctional facilities, with its volunteers engaging in prison reform advocacy outside of the classroom, including a collaboration with Harvard’s Institute of Politics to write the first ever report on the use of solitary confinement in Massachusetts. Additionally, HOPE awards 3-5 scholarships a year to youth, men, and women in correctional facilities, which can be used to fund classes in continuing education and professional skill development as well as college and post-college degree classes.

HOPE is divided into two branches: tutoring and advocacy. While students work on issues pertaining to criminal justice reform on the advocacy side—such as organizing campaigns, film screenings, and a yearly 7×9 solitary confinement protest on campus—tutors go to local facilities every week.



HOPE provides one-on-one tutoring for men, women, and youth at six local facilities:

Tutors work with women at a medium-security prison in Massachusetts which houses women at various classification levels, including state and county sentenced, as well as those awaiting trial. Tutors work together to create a curriculum and teach unique lessons about a variety of topics. Each week will have a different theme, and we will rotate tutors. Tutors for this site will likely only tutor 1-3 times a semester. 
Times: Fridays 8AM – 12PM
Tutors work at a pre-release house for women in Framingham. SMCC is minimum security. 
Times: Fridays 8AM – 12PM.
Also known as South Bay House of Corrections, Suffolk Jail is a medium-security jail located in Boston, MA. Tutors work with women and men once a week on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
Times: Monday & Tuesday 3:00PM – 6:45PM and 6:30PM – 9:45PM.
A half-way house that primarily serves men on probation and parole. Tutors help lead GED classrooms. 
Times: Mon-Thurs 10AM – 12PM.
A secure youth detention center located in Boston. We participate in GED prep and academic skill development, but also have group discussions and mentorship activities.
Times: Monday 6:30PM – 9:15PM; Friday 3:30PM – 6:15PM.
A transitional living facility for young men between 18-21 years of age. Activities are mainly group mentoring projects that are life skills oriented (i.e. cooking, public transportation systems exercises, games involving math, etc.)
Times: Monday & Wednesday 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM.

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