Posts Tagged ‘high school diploma’

I set up a bursary to help inmates with further education. I understood that education was the proven way out of crime. But some men and women had already obtained a high school diploma, so the prison system would do nothing for them. And there were others who just wanted to take a college course in a subject they were interested in, high school diploma or not.

I moved carefully at the beginning. It would be better if the donations were handled by a trusted group that could issue a tax receipt to people. I talked to the John Howard Society and they agreed to sponsor this effort.

Now comes the failure. I’m not out in the streets promoting this bursary. Yes, I mention it now and then in this blog, but I don’t contact other businesses, or certain charities or rich individuals. Why not?

Maybe I’m afraid of people yapping about “Those dirty convicts, I wouldn’t give them a dime.” I pay attention to stories in the news about criminals and I must say the media is far from objective. I know that with some people, I would have to remind them that these are human beings we’re talking about, human beings who are going to get out of prison someday.

Maybe it’s just my nature NOT to raise money. When I was a Catholic priest, I absolutely hated to raise money. Several times a year the bishop would send a letter that we had to read at every mass, raising money for this or that Catholic charity. I said to myself that I didn’t get ordained to raise money. Either I skipped it entirely or I skimmed over it.

That sounds like an excuse to me. What’s the matter with me?

I often complain about the staff who work in prison, but I have to mention some outstanding staff. One who comes to mind is a teacher. She works for about half of what she could make in the public school system. I’m talking $25 dollars teacheran hour compared to $50 an hour. That’s a substantial difference.

She works for a private company who won the contract from the prison system. Like so many other things in prison, it’s the low bidder who usually wins the contract.

This teacher has no union to protect her, but she teaches on, giving a hundred and fifty percent of herself. “Damn fine teacher,” one inmate says. “Taught me how to read,” another says.

The men respond to her because she respects them. Does she have trouble in her classroom, fights breaking out? No. And if a few guys get close to mixing it up, other inmates stop them. “Take it to the yard,” they say.

She teaches basic skills and hopes to bring each man to a high school diploma or an equivalent diploma. Sadly, there is no higher education in prison unless an inmate pays for it. That’s why I set up a bursary  (

I doubt if society will ever acknowledge teachers like this. She is the true ‘crime fighter.’ Since education is the proven way out of crime, she is at the center of the rehabilitation process.

dandelionsPeople do everything to get the dandelions out of their yards. They spray them with deadly chemicals, they root them out with sharp instruments. Here’s a woman who works with dandelions, respects them and helps change them into good members of society. Kudos to a teacher who ribbon




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