Interview With An Alabama Inmate & Horticulture Student

Inmates from several prisons take a math class at J.F. Ingram State Technical College. The campus becomes a medium-security facility when students arrive. We agreed not to show full faces. Photo by Dan Carsen.

Inmates from several prisons take a math class at J.F. Ingram State Technical College. The campus becomes a medium-security facility when students arrive. We agreed not to show full faces. Photo by Dan Carsen.

DEATSVILLE, Ala. – Alabama’s J.F. Ingram State may be the nation’s only state-run two-year college exclusively for inmates. Its mission is to reduce recidivism by offering “three legs of the stool”: academics, life skills (getting along with coworkers and family, managing stress, getting to work on time, and more), and vocational training. Our Alabama reporter Dan Carsen recently visited Ingram’s Deatsville campus, where he met Timothy Brown, a 53-year-old convicted robber and burglar serving a life sentence but hoping for parole. Brown had walked over from the Frank Lee minimum-security facility next door. He’d been proudly passing around organic cantaloupe and filling in for his horticulture teacher. Dan starts the interview by asking Brown if doing the latter makes him nervous:

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW: 

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J.F. Ingram State Technical College's organic garden. Photo by Dan Carsen.

J.F. Ingram State Technical College’s organic garden. Photo by Dan Carsen.

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