Mercy College featured in HBO Documentary Films presentation

Stefanie Botelho's picture

Mercy College is proud to be featured in the HBO Documentary Films presentation of “The University of Sing Sing.” The 40 minute film takes viewers inside the walls of the Sing Sing Correctional Facility, where roughly 1,700 men serve time often for violent crimes. The film shows the transformative power of education as the men work toward a college degree through Hudson Link for Higher Education, a privately funded non-profit organization that offers college courses to inmates.

“The University of Sing Sing” Special Screening at Mercy College

March 31, 2014

Rotunda, Mercy Hall

Dobbs Ferry, New York


• 6 p.m. – Reception

• 6:45p.m. – “The University of Sing Sing” HBO Documentary Special Screening

• 7:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion

o Sean Pica, Executive Director of Hudson Link

o Tim Skousen, Director “The Sing Sing University”

o Jo Ann Skousen, Mercy College Associate Director for Academic Excellence and Innovation and Hudson Link English Professor

o Michael Capra, Sing Sing Correctional Facility Superintendent

The special screening is open to the public and media.

RSVP encouraged: or (914) 674-7736

The film spotlights the men in the Hudson Link program as they explain the crimes that brought them to Sing Sing, the world they left behind and how education has changed their outlook on life. The Sing Sing program currently has 129 male students enrolled, and those who graduate will receive an associate degree or a bachelors’s of science degree from Mercy College, the lead college at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. The film features interviews with inmates going through the college program at the time, their families and Mercy College professors revealing the true value of education and the second chance it offers.

In 1998, five former inmates founded the privately funded Hudson Link. While almost 50 percent of all U.S. inmates eventually return to prison after release, Hudson Link alumni have a recidivism rate of less than 2 percent. Along with Sing Sing and Mercy, there are Hudson Link programs in: Fishkill Correctional Facility, Greene Correctional Facility, Sullivan Correctional Facility and Taconic Correctional Facility. The other participating colleges are: Nyack College, Siena College, Sullivan County Community College - State University of New York (SUNY) and Vassar College. The program draws a myriad of supporters, including rapper and actor Ice-T, business magnate Warren Buffet and singer and activist Harry Belafonte.

Mercy College Interim President Dr. Concetta M. Stewart said: “As a college we support higher education and all the opportunities and promise that it offers. A program like Hudson Link truly offers a second chance and here at Mercy we are happy to work on such a worthy cause.”

Hudson Link Executive Director Sean Pica said: “A college diploma is a life-changing gift for these men; the effects go beyond their own personal journeys.” Pica, who was also incarcerated and completed his own college degree in the program, said the program is essential for successful re-entry to society after prison. Pica reflected: “How do we want these men to return to us in the community - the same way they went in, or worse? Or do you want them changed and thinking about what they’ve done, and educated and looking to make a difference in their lives and the communities they are returning to?”

Mercy College Associate Director for Academic Excellence and Innovation and Hudson Link English Professor Jo Ann Skousen said: “The students I teach at Sing Sing are golden. Bright, respectful, cooperative, engaged and engaging, they come to class ready to contribute and eager to learn. As their confidence grows and their skills improve, I see the transformative power of education in each student. That stone school building has become a sacred place to me. I love being a part of it.”

“The University Of Sing Sing” debuts MONDAY, MARCH 31 (9:45-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Other HBO playdates: April 2 (12:15 p.m., 4:00 a.m.), 5 (3:00 p.m.), 8 (4:30 p.m.), 13 (9:30 a.m.) and 18 (11:15 a.m.) HBO2 playdates: April

“The University Of Sing Sing” is directed by Tim Skousen; producers Robert Fernandez and Tim Skousen; executive producer by Dan Levinson; co-producer Karol Zeno; editors Geof Bartz, Mitch Gerbus and Tim Skousen; director of photography, Ed Stephenson. For HBO: supervising producer Jacqueline Glover; executive producer Sheila Nevins.

To arrange an interview with Hudson Link Executive Director Sean Pica or Mercy College Associate Director for Academic Excellence and Innovation and Hudson Link English Professor Jo Ann Skousen please contact:

Catherine Cioffi – Mercy College Associate Director Public Relations

Office (914) 674-7736

Cell (914) 954-5579

To request a pre-view copy of the film please contact:

Jessica (Manzi) Driscoll

HBO Media Relations Director


212-512-5517 (fax)

About Mercy College

Founded in 1950, Mercy College is a private, not-for-profit higher education institution that offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs within five prestigious schools: Business, Education, Health and Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Mercy College offers an engaging and personalized learning experience that includes the College’s revolutionary Personalized Achievement Contract (PACT) program. The Mercy College PACT is the first program of its kind and now serves as a nationally recognized model for mentoring. 877-MERCY-GO.