Prisoner Contributions to Universities

By · Thursday, February 26th, 2009

As a long-term prisoner, I’ve always felt as if I had a duty to reconcile with society. One contribution I could make was to document my journey through the federal prison system.

I have written extensively about my experiences of living in prison for more than 21 years. I have also written about others. The energy I invested was part of my effort to help more people understand American prisons, the people they held, and strategies for growing through confinement.

Publishers have brought three of my books to market. Many university professors use those books as a resource to educate students of criminal justice, corrections, sociology, and other subjects. Recently, my wife Carole helped me open interactive opportunities through which I participate more directly with university students.

The program began with Dr. Sam Torres, professor of criminal justice at California State University Long Beach. His students read through articles available on as well as my books. They then post questions or reactions to my work in the comment section that follows each article. Since I don’t have direct access to the internet, or even typewriters, Carole sends me student questions through the mail. I write my responses out in longhand, and return them to Carole. She then transcribes those comments and publishes them on the blog.

I value such opportunities to interact with society. I am hopeful that other universities will extend opportunities for me to contribute. They add meaning to my life. I feel confident these interactions are advancing the preparations I make to emerge as a law-abiding citizen after my quarter-century in confinement.

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