How to Not Let Mistakes Define You

BY Paul Solman  August 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM EST



We recently reported on the prison initiative of Bard College, a selective school currently running degree programs in five New York prisons. Skeptics of prison reform should take note of one Anthony Cardenales, a former inmate who did 17 years for homicide. He earned an associate’s and then a bachelor’s degree through the privately-funded Bard Behind Bars, and is working his way up the management ladder at an electronics recycling company — and working up fast.

Cardenales was back in prison, but not because he’s a recidivism statistic. He and his boss, Virgil Fisher, were there to talk to the current Bard matriculants about success on the other side of the walls. Their pep talk seems relevant to everyone from hard-core criminals to recent college grads, from those in need of a job to those just looking for a good old-fashioned pick-me-up.

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