SULC student organization focused on prison education

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Law students at Southern University are creating a program to help inmates earn an undergraduate degree while serving their sentences.

Law students at Southern University take a closer look at the men and women who sit behind bars. “When you’re in jail, you’re technically confined, but that doesn’t put any limits on you. So we want them to have the opportunity to have freedom of mind, in the situation where they don’t have the freedom of their bodies,” says Keyra Johnson, president of the Louisiana College Prison Project.

Johnson and other students set up the Louisiana College Prison Project, giving inmates a chance to advance their education while serving their sentences. “We all have our individual stories, but we all know it’s no secret that the black community has been deeply affected by mass incarceration at an alarming rate. Many of us either have a decent relative or an immediate relative who has been affected by incarceration,” explains Jazzmyn Moultrie, vice-president of the LCPP.

Moultrie says they model their prison project on other schools like Georgetown University, where inmates have successfully completed the educational program. Moultrie says the goal is to give offenders a chance to earn an undergraduate liberal arts degree. Higher education can give them an advantage when they leave the system. “It’s a gateway for them. A lot of them, there’s also an alumni program with the bar initiative project, and they can tap into that and the resources and are kind of kept in the next stages. Whether it’s a job, some of them even got their master’s degree with the BPI program,” adds Moultrie.

The student-run organization studies three correctional facilities in Louisiana, focusing primarily on juveniles. Students and leaders believe this program will help reduce an inmate’s chances of returning to prison and remind them that there is more to life after imprisonment.

On Friday August 26, 2022, the Southern University Law Center will present the documentary “College Behind Bars”. After the documentary, there will be an information session. They are currently looking for teachers interested in participating in the program.

Law students at Southern University create a program to help inmates earn an undergraduate degree while serving their sentence.(wafb)

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Aubrey L. Morgan