Marijuana Lifer Paul Free: Going Back to Teaching in Prison


Lifer Paul Free about to start Teaching in PrisonMarijuana Lifer Project director Cheri Sicard just got this message from lifer Paul Free.  We are happy to hear him sounding up and excited as the Supreme Court denying is latest petition really had him down, understandably.

IT LOOKS AS IF I WILL BE TEACHING AGAIN! Yes, I’ve seen these “classes” where some men are asleep, some listening to their radios, and others just talking about last night’s game. Not to be tolerated. And they complain that they aren’t learning anything. Well, the problem, as I see it, is that there are no instructors, save for a BOP employee who comes in and takes roll and then leaves.

I taught for ten years. My last class, in USP Lompoc, had the highest percentage of GED (high school equivalent) graduates the prison had ever known. That was ten years ago. Now, all class rooms are being converted to computer rooms, with monitors and all instruction off a DVD. No more desks. Who will ask and answer questions?

So, I made a proposal to the Associate Warden and the Warden. They admitted that what the BOP had been doing lately “was not working” as effectively as they supposed could be done. So, I approached them at the right time I guess, because they all seem to be in favor of me teaching.

Now we just need to find a “white board” or an old chalk board and a room. The students will bring their own chairs.

I taught a man to read and recently I have been sitting in a chair on the second tier in the housing unit right in front of my cell working with two men who are trying to pass the GED test. Having a real room will be a blessing.

Stay tuned. Teaching adults is not easy as most harbor deeply ingrained false information; but, it is possible and can be deeply rewarding.



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