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May 27, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-05-27

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Jackson State Prison as school

1/>r aN/h>or. 5e /M rada/d 1//>is on/h get you t
f10r7 /l, f',P ,rr/i' (:ollege of litera- an ex-con,
Purr, Sin srand I/ir A rts as a journal- a formerI
itn ialjor, i dirr/or of Project Com- ing emplo
.nsni/ 'i liima/i' Projer. She has also coming th
be(,; a fflfor at Jar/son Prison. This is Accordi
the la, / of /to ar/icles. roffers itsW
rials, spea
75 Jackson
The average Jackson State Prison prisonersr
inmate reads and writes far below a each in th
sixth grade level and, if enrolled in and human
the in.stitstion's educational program, is a major ar
probably learning to distinguish vowel BGS requi
sounds and understand elementary phon- INMAT
James McBride, presently preparing with WSU
a 65-page thesis for Wayne State Uni- depang
versity, is an exception. He, too, is a are taking
Jackson inmate but, unlike his fellow pri-
soners, McBride spends the hours within
his dingy cell walls reading counseling "A
texts apolicable to the Bachelor of Gen- .
eral Studies (BGS) degree he will re- five
ceive from WSU next month. enoug
McBRIDE IS NOT a student sent to does,
Jackson on a drug charge and complet-
ing his education from behind bars, but he s u
a serious offender who entered Jackson on it.
more than six years ago with only a
high school diploma.
A native of Flint, McBride believes
he's fortunate to have completed high oraluexam
school, let alone go on to college, while evaluate s
most of Jackson's residents have not Jim Br
finished eighth grade. WSU pro
"Yea, I'm sort of an educational suc- time ip
' * ~is don
cess " he said. "But I came from the oing
streets where it wasn't easy, and I know fits."
that I've got to get a degree to achieve While
something., theory go
CONSEQUENTLY, McBride enrolled its lmple
in Jackson Community College shortly says stem
after arriving at prison and earned de- imposed b
grees in General Studies and Business. SINCE'
In the process, he obtained the 62 credits and outdat
necessary to partake in the WSU pro- study mati
gram, originated by an ex-convict al- usually tat
most two years ago. arrive. Th
"A junior college degree is good to hampers
have for the experience, but it won't causes cot

so far, particularly if you're
," said McBride, alluding to
prisoner's difficulty in obtain-
yment and housing and over-
e prison stigma.
ng to McBride, Wayne State
Jackson students course mate-
kers and films related to the
ee, for which approximately
n residents are studying. The
must complete 36 credit hours
e physical and social sciences
nities, and submit a thesis in
rea of study to satisfy Wayne's
ES ATTEND evening classes
personnel about twice a week,
on the number of courses they
. Instructors use written and

"The prison administration isn't too
concerned and then the Wayne State
coordinator comes in here and tells us
one thing and then it's a different story,"
he said. "The program is worthwhile
and the coordinator good, but because
of a lot of circumstances, it's unorgan-
ized. They tell us this, they tell us that
- it's a hassle, but better than no pro-
McBride praised the program's inno-
vation, but feels it should be strengthened
and made more serviceable to the pri-
"WE NEED MORE degree options,"
he declared, his dark eyes filled with
intensity. "A General Studies degree
doesn't do much; you can't go very far
with it, but just having a degree is

guy comes in here (Jackson Prison) for four or
years and should be able to read and write well
gh to get a decent job, or he shouldn't leave. If he
he'll then have two problems-he's an ex-con and
neducated. He'd do better to stay here and work
"--Jackson inmate James McBride

"Being an ex-con, I'll be more undler
standing than the guy who's never baeer
in prison and doesn't know how terrible
it is. I sure won't try to work hers
though. After seeing how this place runs,
I couldn't fit in with the administratsy
and guards who are very uneducate
and try to guide us."
McBride has also contemplated work
ing with juveniles, "where you can se
some progress and help them befor
they wind up here."
in stressing the difficulties ex-convict
confront and feels that they should no
be released without a high school eds
A guy comes in here for four or fiv
years and should be able to read any
write well enough to get a decent job
or he shouldn't leave. If he does, be'
then have two problems - he's an
con and he's uneducated. He'd do be
ter to stay here and work on it.
"A degree's not important In berty
but out there, it's the only anwe
especially for us," he added.
IT IS TOO EARLY to predict jo
or graduate school possibilities, accor
ing to Bray, but he has great hop'
for his students' futures.
McBride would like to see more pr
gramming, like that of Wayne Stat
instituted in Jackson.
"Despite the problems, it's really
good thing and worth it. You learn
whole lot and the program at Wayr
State can't be much harder than it
here," he chuckled. "I'd like to s
another school, like the University
Michigan or Michigan State, come i
here to compare them with Wayne, ar
to make it better for us all."
Until then, McBride is optimistic abs
his own future. "I'll have a good a
vantage in my selected field, becau
I'll be an ex-con,- and they're lookin
for us to fill this type of position," j


s, papers and conferences to
tudents' performances.
ay, present coordinator of the
gram, who has never spent
rison, believes the program
fine and gives positive bene-
McBride finds the program
od, he sees several faults in
mentation, most of which he
from administrative restraints
y the prison.
THE Jackson library is small
ted, according to McBride, all
erials are brought in by WSU,
king as long as two weeks to
is process, McBride contends,
the students' progress and
nfusion and frustration.

Little chance exists for expanding de-
gree possibilities, according to Bray.
"It's a self-contained program, and it
would be very difficult to duplicate any
degree program offered anywhere. "We
have to bring everything out there, and
because of the logistics, it's improbable
and nearly impossible," he explained.
McBride plans to pursue a Master's
degree in social work when "back on
the streets," so that he will more fully
qualify for employment, and wants to
help others adversely involved in the
prison system.
"MY MAIN AMBITION is to become
a parole officer," said McBride, who
himself will appear before the parole
board in November.

The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Thursday, May 27, 1976
News Phone: 764-0552
Hays' fling: Our money?
NOT SINCE FANNE FOXE leaped into the Tidal Basin
after a night out with Wilbur Mills has the story of
a public official's private life been emblazoned across
the nation's newspages. This time, we hear of the ex-
ploits of Ohio Congressman Wayne Hays, the powerful
chairman of the House Administration Committee, who
allegedly kept on the public payroll at $14,000 a secre-
tary whose skills were more noticeable in the bedroom
than behind the typewriter.
Although the Congressman, a veteran of 28 years in
the House, continues to deny the hiring of the woman
for her sexual favors, we find it difficult to believe him.
Hays has already lied once, denying he ever had an affair
with the woman, but reversed that story in a speech
before the House last Tuesday.
That he had an affair, however, is not as disturbing
as the possibility of enjoying it at the taxpayers' expense.
With stories continuing to contradict one another as to
the nature of the woman's duties while on the payroll,
coupled with her own incessant contentions of secre-
tarial incompetence, some facts remain obscured and
hidden from the public.
The Justice Department has already intervened. We
hope it will investigate thoroughly this embarrassing
incident, and determine whether or not Rep. Hays in-
deed tapped a healthy sum from the American people
solely for his sexual satisfaction.

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