To the Editor:
Re “Turn Prisons Into Colleges” (Op-Ed, March 7):
Elizabeth Hinton provides compelling arguments, grounded in evidence, that prisons with education programs are often safer, result in lower rates of recidivism and increase chances of job acquisition.
Several years ago, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with inmates seeking high school equivalency diplomas and college degrees at Bedford Hills, a women’s prison in upstate New York, to enhance their literacy and critical thinking skills. I was amazed at the women’s enthusiasm for learning.
I stayed in contact with several of the women after their release. Among them, one pursued a doctorate in education and another achieved a high-level corporate position.
If more universities expanded their programs to include prisoners who grew up in underserved communities, there is potential to educate us all not only about the inequities in our society, but also about the aspirations of many inmates from underserved communities to acquire an education and become contributing members of society.
WATER MILL, N.Y.
The writer is a professor of literacy education at Montclair State University.
To the Editor:
Few realize that some years ago college courses were routinely offered in prisons. I am a retired professor of sociology. Decades ago, I was invited by a graduate student teaching at a Kansas prison to give a lecture.
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