If you ever get the chance to engage with brilliant minds, take it. Our second class with HOPE (Huskie for the Opportunities for Prison Education) was amazing. So the concept is that we give them food for thought, a problem perhaps, and the UW students take this beyond the prison to research it. When we meet again, we sort through the data. By week 4, we present the entirety of the research as a solution or concept to be acted on. For me and those of us inmates, its become some of the most powerful and rewarding things we’ve ever done. I hope for the students, it simply changes their minds on stereotypes associated with prisons.

If inmates could vote would you support it? To what limit? How would legislative districts be impacted and are inmates inherently anti-government? Are they soft on crime with no regard for public safety? I think some of these answers would surprise the average citizen. The long term impact on public policy could be amazing and inclusive. How did the founding fathers intend on establishing order in regards to freed felons, or even the incarcerated? All of these are compelling questions and the great minds in our class are helping to answer them. I can’t wait to meet next week!

by Rory Andes

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