Rutgers University undergraduate Boris Franklin never envisioned himself as a student, but today he’s working toward a psychology degree after serving 11 years in prison for a deadly drug deal.
“I never imagined going to college before NJ-STEP, so I didn’t think, ‘OK, I’m going to get out of prison and go to school.’ This was completely new to me,” said Franklin, who has made the transition with the help of the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium (NJ-STEP).
NJ-STEP helps incarcerated residents gain college credits while in prison and, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, “The benefits produced from the program make it invaluable for participants.” The Vera Institute of Justice reports that New Jersey has the third-highest STEP enrollment out of 27 participating states.
“It provides a certain level of hope when you start to realize, ‘OK what could I do with a college degree,’ and at some point you realize it’s definitely going to be more than I can do with a prison record,” said Franklin, who has just two semesters to go before he is awarded his degree.
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