Prison Education: Class Update (7-11-2011)

You know, it’s a funny thing about education: the teacher is always excited to get back to work, yet the students are often more hesitant. Hey, I get it. I’ve been on both sides of the issue, both sides of the desk. These days, I don’t see an English paper as an exciting prospect, but I do see it as a necessary activity. I suppose that this is just one of those odd quirks about education. But to tell you the truth, as long as I continue to feel this way about teaching my class, I think that my life will be that much better. It’s as if I love to go to work. What a blessing, indeed! Actually, the other day the prison surprised me with a $20 bonus on my $5.25 monthly pay check. Turns out they are now paying me $10 per class that I teach. Hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Several things came up this week – both in class and out – that I’d like to share with you. First, I received the graded results of my first assignment for the new English course that I’m taking through Ohio University. I was very pleased to see that I earned an “A”. As a matter of fact, I’m going to be posting this essay to the blog shortly. This way you will not only see my work, but also share in my story a bit. After all, the paper is about signing my plea bargain, a very emotional and troubling moment in my life.

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A higher purpose for higher education in prison

From the Indianapolis Star
Eliminating college education for prison inmates is an easy enough move to make, politically speaking. But does it make sense for the taxpaying public?
Not when history shows that convicts who take classes are substantially less likely to wind up back behind bars once they’re released.
The benefits appear to apply to study of the liberal arts as well as vocational training. But Gov. Mitch Daniels wants the emphasis put on the latter area, with the rationale that it will lead to more jobs — certainly a key factor in staying free.
Unfortunately, he and the Indiana General Assembly have set up a fight over scraps when there is a very large hunger waiting to be satisfied.
At the same time Daniels, corrections officials and legislative leaders are talking about the need to reduce the burgeoning and financially unsustainable prison population, the modest $9 million that had been set aside for college financial aid for inmates has been entirely eliminated from the new two-year state budget.
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