Two Prison College Program instructors help inmates attain their academic goals via mail correspondence. These inmates share their coursework and also unburden their minds via letters.
The letters are from prisons all over the country, and they are addressed to two women. Opening their mailboxes, the women receive correspondence written by hundreds of prison inmates.
Some of the correspondences are academic papers. And some are personal letters revealing the decay of prison life. Both women receive the letters with great expectations.
This is the daily lives of Kathy Park Woolbert and Carol Guerrero-Murphy. Both are instructors at the Prison College Program of Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. Almost on a daily basis, Woolbert receives up to eight correspondences in large manila envelopes in her mailbox.
Inmates Obtain the Assistance of Relatives and Prison Staffs for Their Research Projects
Many of these letters are from prisoners all over the US including:
Many of these correspondences are hand-written, and some are printed. They contain:
- Prison memoirs
- Research studies
In the correspondences, prison inmates write about personal prison life and on academic courses they are enrolled in. Adams State University Prison College Program offers prison-based correspondence programs.
These prison academic programs allow qualified prison inmates to enroll in certificate, degree and MBA programs. The prisoners consult with family members, prison guards and fellow inmates to get their coursework done.
They also often refer to textbooks as part of their research activities. In most cases, these textbooks are sent to them by their family members and friends.
Prison College Programs Give Inmates After-Release Opportunities
When they are done with their coursework or research papers, the inmates send them off to Woolbert or Guerrero-Murphy. Both instructors mark the papers and also critique them with necessary comments.
The papers are put back in envelopes and sent back to the inmates for necessary follow-up actions. Guerrero-Murphy says:
“For students in the program, writing is an open door through which they find self-discovery, imagination, and healing. They can revise and get feedback as much as they want.”
Benefits of the Adam State University Prison College Program
Many prisoners use the prison correspondence program to acquire academic qualifications. Others use the opportunity to unburden their hearts to the instructors.
They capture the brutality of prison life and also detail their experiences during prolonged incarcerations. Some of the writers are incarcerated for a few years, and others are serving life sentences since they were teenagers.
Others, earlier caught up in the underworld, wrote of how free they are behind prison bars.
A few studies suggest that prison inmates who take part in academic programs have 43% less chances of reoffending. The instructors say inmates who have access to education become better citizens when the return to society.
Both Woolbert and Guerrero-Murphy say taking part in prison educative programs for the inmates is a model of restorative justice.