an anonymous donor is currently funding community college classes within the oregon state penitentiary. other than the inside-out program, it is the first time there have been college classes in the prison in more than a decade. approximately 45 men are getting the chance to earn college credits while they serve their sentences. the salem statesman-journal published a story earlier this month, explaining this pilot program and what it means to some of the inmate students.
i have had a number of these students in my inside-out classes this year. they are, for the most part, young men who made terrible mistakes and are now trying to change their lives and learn as much as they can while they are in prison. they work hard at their assignments, worry about exams, and are extremely grateful for the opportunity.
i’ll be teaching an introductory sociology course for the college inside program next quarter. it will be a much different dynamic than my inside-out classes, but there will be a number of familiar faces in the room, and i’m really looking forward to the experience.
my local representative from one of the big publishing houses is donating the texts for the class…another big gesture that will mean a lot to 30 men looking for reasons to hope.