CBS' Whitaker tells inmate grads to seize their place

June 06, 2018 - 4:00 pm

OSSINING, N.Y. (AP) — Bill Whitaker of CBS News has spoken at college commencements before, but never one where the graduates weren't free to leave with their families.

That was before Wednesday. The reporter who has done several stories on criminal justice for "60 Minutes" spoke to 44 men who earned college degrees while inmates at New York's Sing Sing state prison. He urged the graduates to "seize your place in the universe."

Whitaker, who is black, said there are many people in correctional systems treated unfairly who look like him, the graduates and their families. He says that has motivated him to tell stories.

Sing Sing is 30 miles north of New York City — the prison for which the phrase "up the river" was coined.