I’m sure the title of this post grabbed your attention. First of all, I’m not incarcerated. I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been quite busy with starting my junior year of school. But, what I have been doing is volunteering as a student tutor in a prison. This started as a result of a program my college does where a few of our professors teach classes in two different prisons, the Maryland Correctional Institute of Jessup and the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women.
Once a week, I go into the women’s prison for two and a half hours during their study hall, where the inmates are in a library and I look over school work for them and make corrections. As you might think, it is scary to go into a moderate security prison. We aren’t allowed to ask the inmates why they’re incarcerated, but you can’t help but think you could be helping people who could have been convicted of something heinous.
But the funny thing is, once you get past the twenty-foot razor wire fences, you meet the friendliest people ever. I’m not joking, I felt so comfortable with the women and forgot where I was for most of the time. As I read their writing (because, of course, I’m a writing tutor) I learned about their families, their children (of the 40 women taking classes, 35 have children), their hopes, dreams. It was heartbreaking to read about what they could have been, if it wasn’t for the one worst thing they ever did that landed them in prison. One woman showed me a pocket sized photo of her children she keeps with her ID tag. Another showed me the tattoo of her favorite Bible reading that wraps around her entire arm in a tight coil.
It’s an amazing experience.