This past Monday was my second time tutoring at A.C. Wagner Prison over in Borderton New Jersey. The inmates there are extremely bright, and the way I categorize that is by a willingness to learn. I teach writing and have the inmates write short esssays as I look over them and discuss with them what ways to write better; apart from grammar or spelling, I rather have them focus on the content, and I how to get their ideas onto paper, in beautifully descriptive ways.
This experience reminded me of the movie SLAM featuring Saul Williams. Saul Williams plays Ray, a talented MC caught up in the DC prison system. In his time in prison he meets a woman named Lauren, who teaches English at the prison. Ray, not realizinig his full potential through his lyricism struggles between the rights and wrongs of the Dodge City Projects, aiming to find his way. The following is a clip at the end of the movie. I recommend y'all rent it.
However, one of the things that did bother in my time there, is the way they ask for the tutors to treat the inmates. They asked that we be professional and that we should be reminded that we are dealing with criminals. If you ask me, I refuse to treat people as if they are less than what they should be or have the potential to be. I chose writing because I honestly believe that my time there will make a difference. If you think it's THE GAME that got them caught up in this system, I can tell you THE GAME can get you out. Write It. Think It. Believe It.