Lily Hodges

This summer I hope to get approval from Solano Community College (SCC) and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), either through the Voluntary Education Program or the Office of Community Partnerships, to administer study hall and writing and math workshops for students in California State Prison, Solano. Both SCC and the CDCR have bureaucratic hurdles I need to clear, which is proving slower and more arduous that I had imagined. This says more about my aspirations than the bureaucracy itself— the dreamer who applied for the Mellon Public Scholars now has two feet firmly on the ground.

Though I had hoped to start either the study hall or the writing and math workshops early this summer, I see now that they will more realistically start at the beginning of SCC’s fall semester, in August. My goal is to prepare thoroughly for this possibility while keep two fingers crossed for a summer start.

Should I be unable to start an educational program in prison this summer, I can work to create a space on campus for students who were formerly incarcerated. I would model these after UC Berkeley’s Underground Scholars and San Francisco State University’s Project Rebound. I would also want to extend the “ban the box” movement to Davis’ campus. I believe UC Davis could do more for students coming out of prisons and jails who want to continue their education.

If I am unable to start a program, I will also have the time to help the Essie Justice Group draft a policy report on the effects of mass incarceration on women with an incarcerated loved one. I have committed to this project but would be able to spend more quality time on it if I am unable to start the prison program.

This is all to say, I’m hoping for the best but planning for bureaucracies to stand in the way. It’s possible that after my attempts contact and persuade the CDCR and SCC I might just ultimately receive a big fat NO to the project. I will continue with my original goals, but should they become unreachable, I will switch courses.