In my American history class, I heard lots of stories about the men who founded this country.

I was taught that men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison personified the best of what our country had to offer. They saved us from imperialistic rule in order to build a country predicated on freedom.

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I walked into a prison expecting to meet criminals. Instead, I found a community of men.

How I learned more about the criminal justice system in one day than I did reading 100 books.

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It's my first day as a creative writing teacher at the Bay State Correctional Center in Norfolk, Massachusetts.

I'm waiting for the men who will soon fill the circle of brown, wooden desks around me. The sound of the air conditioner buzzes from a vent in the far corner of the room.

As a graduate student, I study the intersection of education and incarceration. But I believe that my work can't be limited to the confines of academic journals and archives, which is why I decided to volunteer at the Bay State Correctional Center.

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