Not all prisoners are bad people.
Some get to prison due to mistakes in judgement, circumstances that forced their hands or many other reasons.
Educating prisoners has just proven itself a worthy cause in a most surprising way.
It has become more commonplace over the years to provide prisoners chances they might be denied due to their incarceration.
One of the most important initiatives in that respect has been providing them with the chance to enjoy at least a partial college experience.
And the results have been quite stunning – prisoners that have taken advantage of this opportunity tend not to return to the life of crime they previously had, education has given them greater opportunity to aid their own cause.
Prisoners at the maximum security “Eastern Correctional Facility” are given the chance to take college classes taught by professors from the nearby Bard College, and one of the most popular classes has proven to be the debate club.
As part of their learning experience, prisoners invited the recently crowned national collegiate debate champions from Harvard to debate them, to their credit, the students did not shy away from the challenge and met the prisoners in a prison riot unlike any other – a struggle of words and brains – not of might and metal.
The teams debated over the subject of public schools denying enrollment to children who are undocumented, with the prisoners arguing the pro side and to the shock of most – winning according to the 3 judge panel.
This was not the prisoner’s first debate, nor was it their first taste of victory in debating, having defeated a teams from Vermont university and the West Point military academy in the past.
Of the Prisoners/Students that enroll in classes while jailed – only 2% return to jail within 3 years of release, a stunning departure from the national average that constantly hovers around 40%.
This goes to show that regardless of where you are in life, education can only do good for you!