FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2019
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122
NEW JERSEY INMATES SHARE STORIES OF
Inmates from New Jersey correctional facilities spoke to Berkeley College students about their experiences with drugs and alcohol and the tragic choices that led to their incarceration as part of Project P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting Responsibility in Drug Education). The minimum-custody offenders advised students to stay focused on their goals and to make positive choices.
“I would be missing for days or weeks at a time. My mom didn’t know if I was alive or dead. I knew I was putting her through all of this stress, but it didn’t matter to me because I was so involved with drugs and alcohol,” said Desiree, an inmate serving seven years at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women.
Desiree’s decision to drive under the influence led to a car crash that injured her two children and another driver. “I changed a lot of lives from the decision I made that night,” she said. “It took me to go through that night to know I couldn’t stop on my own.”
Students pursuing degrees in criminal justice, legal studies and other professions attended the event, held on June 26, 2019, at Berkeley College in Woodbridge, NJ.
David, an inmate serving a 15-year sentence at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility for vehicular manslaughter, emphasized that one bad decision can be life-altering.
“I’ve seen a lot of people who had good lives end up in here because they made one mistake,” he said. “The law is the law. You are studying it. Any decision that makes you stray from your path makes no sense.”
The panelists also shared the ways they have changed their lives through sobriety and the pursuit of higher education while incarcerated. According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, the inmates do not receive a reduction in sentence or special benefits for participating in the Project P.R.I.D.E. initiative.
“It was eye-opening to hear these stories firsthand, outside of the classroom,” said Vanessa Leahy of Staten Island, who said her plans are to attend law school and pursue a career in social services. “The panelists spoke a lot about having goals and staying on a positive path.”
Gary Krulish, Chair, Justice Studies – Criminal Justice, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies, said Project P.R.I.D.E. highlights how many crimes can be prevented. “This was an opportunity for students to grasp the gravity of an individual’s choices and the severity with which they could impact someone’s life,” Mr. Krulish said.
Berkeley College will host another Project P.R.I.D.E. event this month at its campus in Paramus, NJ.
Photo Captions: (Top) Inmates from New Jersey correctional facilities share their experiences with drugs and alcohol and the tragic choices that led to their incarceration as part of Project P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting Responsibility in Drug Education). (Bottom, L to R) Desiree, Nicole, David and Lawrence, inmates from New Jersey correctional facilities, encourage Berkeley College students to stay focused on their goals and to make positive choices.
About Berkeley College
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,000 students – including more than 350 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.
Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are four campuses – Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For six consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
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