INCARCERATION

Education As A Way To Find Freedom In Prison

Jan 28, 2019

This is the first in a year-long monthly series of stories called Lessons Learned, exploring personal moments in education.

José Bou considers himself a lucky man. Today, he’s doing what he calls his life’s work at the Holyoke Public School system, bringing family and school leaders closer together and working to reduce chronic student absences.

“I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be,” said Bou.

A few years ago the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals in Windham was struggling financially.

In a windowless classroom at the John J. Moran medium-security prison in Cranston, R.I., three men sit around a table to share how and when they began using opioids.

For Josh, now 39, it was when he was just 13 years old. "I got grounded for a week in my house, so I grabbed a bundle of heroin and just sat inside and sniffed it all week."

"I started using heroin at 19," says Ray, now 23. "I was shooting it. It was with a group of friends that I was working with, doing roof work."

Convicted mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, who rose to power as a secret informant to the FBI and counted on FBI agents to help him get away with murder and extortion, has been killed in prison, a source says. He was 89.

At the time of his death, Bulger was serving two consecutive life sentences. He had just been relocated to high-security Hazelton prison in West Virginia.

He lasted less than a day there.

Before the Hartford Reentry Welcome Center opened, people in the city fresh out of prison didn’t have one central place where they could find housing, counseling or even a clean, safe place to use the bathroom. Now, they do. The center - located in City Hall -  is a partnership between Community Partners in Action, the City of Hartford, the Department of Corrections and more than 40 local organizations.

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