Ten years ago Hal made a terrible mistake. Everybody at the party was drinking and drinking a lot. Hal kept up with the crowd and in fact, surpassed them. After the party he went to another party and ran into an old buddy, he’d gone to high school with. The buddy drank a little, but nothing like Hal. They decided to go for a late night walk, and Hal took his bottle along.

An hour later the buddy lay dead on a path around a lake. Hal received a life sentence.

You would think that the prison system would focus in on his drinking, but they didn’t. Aside from his drinking, Hal was an accomplished young man – graduated from high school and had finished two years of college, just as the buddy had. Now Hal faced life in prison, either a meaningless life of prison gangs and violence or a life of improving himself. He chose the latter. He felt that if he worked hard and did the best he could, Educationsomehow he would be honoring his dead buddy. It was not giving the man his life back, but it was the best he could do.

The prison didn’t help him. They don’t pay for any post high school classes for anybody, so Hal hunted for grants and bursaries. With the generous help of a relative and applying for bursaries and grants, he finished college and has now started his masters.

All on his own he goes to AA.

What is wrong with our prison system? Education is the proven way out of crime. It’s much cheaper to pay for a college education than it is to pay the $100 a day it costs to Education for the futurekeep a man in prison.

What the prison won’t do, I’m trying to do in a small way. I’ve set up a bursary to help incarcerated men and women with post grad education. The money goes, not to the person, but to the college or university. And a non-profit society manages the fund, the John Howard Society (http://www.johnhoward.ca/) so contributions are tax deductible. Recently $500 went to Hal’s university to help with his masters’ degree.

Hal is trying to make up for his crime. Help him, please, and others like him. Make a tax-deductible contribution (http://edgriffin.net/bursary.html )

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