A College Education for Prisoners

Image courtesy nytimes.com
Image courtesy nytimes.com

To the Editor:Help Us Learn in Prison,” by John J. Lennon, an Attica inmate (Sunday Review, April 5), urging that prisoners be offered college courses, hit me like a ton of bricks.

That was me in the early 1990s, in my cell, believing that I was destined to sell drugs on the corner, with prison an occupational hazard. But as part of a routine intake I was encouraged to enroll in high school equivalency classes. I did.

Instructors again urged me to take college classes. It turns out, I was among the last to get a college education in a New York State prison before inmates were denied access to federal and state financial aid programs. The classes were life changing and gave me options that I pursued upon my release. As I continued my education, career opportunities increased dramatically. I’ve never looked back.

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