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Prison Education

As you know, the 9th Circuit ruled in Hernandez vs. Johnston (a case out of MICC) that we don't have a right to education or rehabilitation. My opinion is the that whole "school in prison" thing is a sham. The state could care less about education for prisoners. It's used as make-work to occupy people. Like here [Clallam Bay] Peninsula College is not even accredited! That means they can't offer degrees and credits won't transfer to a place that will.

Then there's the level of learning my high school classes were more challenging than this stuff I'm taking now. The state likes to pour money into stuff like video and computer stuff while the vast majority of prisoners lack basic literacy skills. I tutor the non-English speaking prisoners here and until recently there was no specialized ESL texts.

Nearly all of the materials being used in the literacy program is stuff that I've drawn up on my own. I've had to teach guys to read and write (the alphabet, their name, etc. from square one) with note cards I've made myself because there are no materials to do it with because DOC won't buy them. I've been teaching ESL and basic literacy to prisoners at [two prisons], and do you know how much support I've seen from the prisoncrats? Not much. At WSR they stuck us in the janitor's closet in the Prison Activity Building and the prison staff complained about us even using that small space!

Maybe I'm just a little cynical. Perhaps the state has no interest in education as it would lower the recidivism rate and lessen the demands for their prisons. Then, also, a bunch of illiterates are a lot easier to victimize and control than people who can read and write.


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