I am a co-founder and coordinator of the Georgia State University Prison Education Project. We teach college classes in Georgia Prisons and work to educate the general population about mass incarceration and the challenges facing former inmates.
I started teaching in prisons in 2005 with the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project with a poetry workshop at Tutwiler Prison (a prison that regularly gets listed on the top ten worst prisons in the US). Working with director Kyes Stevens, I found myself drawn to the work of teaching in prisons because, as a teacher, I found the students to be more motivated and engaged than any other students I had taught. In addition, in Alabama, the lack of resources for inmates meant that my work filled a tangible need in society, and this gave me a sense of fulfillment and purpose my other academic work lacked. While I love literature and poetry, academia can sometimes move us out of touch with less-fortunate elements of society.