By Estefania Florez / The Daily Illini
The Education Justice Project is hosting a symposium on higher education programs in prison until Sunday.
“Our mission is to build a model college in prison program that demonstrates the positive impacts of higher education upon incarcerated students, the family, the neighbors to which they return, the host institution – the University of Illinois – and society,” said Rebecca Ginsburg, director of the project.
The symposium began with guest speaker Susan Burton at Salem Baptist Church Thursday night. Burton is the founder of A New Way of Life re-entry program, which focuses on helping women who have recently left prison find homes and a pathway into society.
During the lecture, Burton spoke about her involvement with the EJP and how it began with her own struggle with justice since she lost her five-year-old son to a Los Angeles Police Department officer. She went through depression and began a battle with alcohol and drugs that led her to do jail time.
“I was sent to prison a total of six times, all for the possession of alcohol and drugs,” Burton said.
After getting out of jail for the last time, Burton discovered a place that helped her beat the cycle and “birthed a new way of life.”