The guys who’ve been earning AA degrees through Coastline Community College have been trying to get a Bachelor’s Degree program started and have met resistance to the idea. The instructor from the community college asked them to write a 1,500 word paper explaining why a higher education is important for prisoners serving sentences of Life Without Parole. I heard about this at different times. Last night I was asked, directly, for my thoughts about it. It turns out I have some very strong feelings.
Education, Existence, and The Slow-Death Penalty.
The question should not be: Why is a college education important for Life Without Parole prisoners? The real question is: Why isn’t it important? For therein lies the crux, the inhumanity which is the Life Without Parole sentence. To be sentenced to death, yet left to life, the essence of life animating your body, your mind, your very soul, and to be treated, all the while, as if you were already dead.
To deny the Life Without Parole prisoner the same consideration as any other prisoner who endeavors to improve himself through education – or by any means – is beyond discrimination, it is a slap in the face of humanity.
If “I think, therefore I am,” as a Life Without Parole prisoner, what, exactly, am I to think?