07 March 06

Bars to Education

For over a year, I’ve been trying to do a prison-approved correspondence course through Rio Salado College.

Problems started at Buckeye when my scholarship applications were rejected over and over again. The reasons included not having a GED (General Education Diploma or High School diploma, similar to UK GCSE), being educated overseas, and having no college courses completed while in prison. I tried to meet each obstacle but got nowhere. I produced my British certificates, including my BA Honours degree, and was told it meant nothing unless I paid an international transcript translator to state its US equivalency. For having no prior college courses completed in prison, I was told to do a woodwork class. As having a bachelor’s degree didn’t meet the GED requirement, I sat the ASSET test and achieved the highest score – causing glimmers of hope – but then I was moved to Tucson, which is in Pima County and scholarships were only available in Maricopa County.

After witnessing my struggle for a scholarship, my parents put money on my books to pay for Psychology 101 – a three credit course costing $336. The forms were filled out and sent for approval and the money was deducted, but the forms got lost. I’m now back to square one, but down $336, so things have regressed.

Undaunted, I obtained the Psychology 101 course material from a prisoner friend, and I’m doing in on my own volition.

Further education helps prisoners get jobs and reintegrate with society. DOC claims to be making progress with GEDs - they should also remove the needless obstacles to higher learning.

With the money deducted from my books, I’m seeking approval to apply it to a course titled Modern Fiction. Wish me luck.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck Shaun. You have done extremely well with your studies. Education is the best positive course for prisoners. It may help others who have not had the chance to better themselves in the past, and crime was their way of making it in the world.

Terry B