Letter to the Editor: Scholars Serving Time Program

Dear editor,

I am a 41 year old, mother of 4, and a student in college…I am also an inmate at MCF-Shakopee Correction Facility.  I never thought those two worlds would collide. I can’t say that I ever thought the latter would be a part of my story, but it is. At the end of this semester, with 105 credits earned over 23 years, I will finally receive an AA degree.

In my life, I have worked so hard to find only dead ends and empty dreams. I thought I had gotten my picture perfect life together. That I could give my children the opportunities I was never afforded.  Unfortunately, one never knows what lies around the bend. The universe had different plans then I did. I have spent the better part of the last 10 years trying to do time, so it won’t do me.

Prison will eat you alive if you let. Being caged, stripped of life and of dignity, separated from your family, and all of this under duress of anyone that will take the job. Forgotten and dismissed by not just society, but by the people closest to you. The people that you have memories with on the playground and put gum in your hair. There is only limited programming offered to heal, grow, and inspire a positive mindset. Prison is where you hold hell in one hand and hope in the other.

That hope can’t survive without the help of community. The opportunity to be able to not only go to college and earn a degree, but to have staff and professors that care enough about us pariahs to come to our hell and give us an equal opportunity for a great education, is beyond sublime. It motivates me to keep going and keep fighting. It shows me that somebody (several somebodies) do care. That I do still exist. That I do matter. There are no words that can describe that magnitude if my appreciation for this program and every person that plays a role in it. The Scholars Serving Time Program gives hope.

With sincere gratitude,

Amanda Peltier

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