Image courtesy nytimes.com

To the Editor:Help Us Learn in Prison,” by John J. Lennon, an Attica inmate (Sunday Review, April 5), urging that prisoners be offered college courses, hit me like a ton of bricks.

That was me in the early 1990s, in my cell, believing that I was destined to sell drugs on the corner, with prison an occupational hazard. But as part of a routine intake I was encouraged to enroll in high school equivalency classes. I did.

Instructors again urged me to take college classes. It turns out, I was among the last to get a college education in a New York State prison before inmates were denied access to federal and state financial aid programs. The classes were life changing and gave me options that I pursued upon my release. As I continued my education, career opportunities increased dramatically. I’ve never looked back.

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About Christopher Zoukis, MBA

Christopher Zoukis, MBA, is the Managing Director of the Zoukis Consulting Group, a federal prison consultancy that assists attorneys, federal criminal defendants, and federal prisoners with prison preparation, in-prison matters, and reentry. His books include Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2020), Federal Prison Handbook (Middle Street Publishing, 2017), Prison Education Guide (PLN Publishing, 2016), and College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons (McFarland & Company, 2014).

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