Partakers event honors student writers Reply

Shapleigh Webster – Copy Editor

Partakers is a collaboration like no other. Combining education with life behind bars, their mission is to support prison education for men in woman who are spending time in jail in Massachusetts. Through the Boston University “College Behind Bars” mentoring program, students can earn credits towards a bachelors degree. With a base of over 300 people volunteering as mentors, it is a large organization.

Recently the organization came to Lasell to highlight a essay contest they held through the school, where students were encouraged to voice their opinions on what they think is wrong with America’s prison system. Junior Elizabeth O’Connor and sophomore Samantha Guarnieri were both named winners of the contest.

In addition to the essay contest, attendees were able to hear the powerful story of Pony, a former inmate at MCI Framingham women’s prison, who through the Boston University college program, was able to get sober and earn college credit.

“When I got to the prison I was a drug addict, I was actively using drugs. I got there because I committed two armed robberies to get money to get drugs.” Pony mapped out her time in prison for those in the audience, explaining how she went from someone who at first was spending time fighting and still actively using drugs in prison, to now, where she is living sober in a half way house and has a steady job.

The night was an eye opener for many audience members, and there was a question and answer portion after her talk. When asked what she thought should have happened to her, if she thought prison was the right option, she explained how she is grateful for how her situation turned out, but knows that is not the case for everyone in prison.

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