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Earlham students explore criminal justice issues over spring break in Michigan

Earlham students explore criminal justice issues over spring break in Michigan

Published: April 24, 2014
Earlham students social justice spring break 2014

Earlham students talk with staff of Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending during AFSC Michigan's Social Justice Spring Break in March 2014.

Photo: AFSC

While many students chose to party or sleep over spring break, a group from Earlham College travelled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to learn about the criminal justice system and AFSC’s ongoing work to promote restorative and healing alternatives. AFSC staff Natalie Holbrook, Pete Martel and Ron Simpson-Bey led the break; Erin Polley assisted with advance organizing.

The students had a packed week, touring and learning, talking and debating, challenging and growing. They had a lot to say about their experiences and the value of relationships over punishment.

"This week has really made me think a lot about working with prisoners," according to one student. "So many people in this system have so much potential and just need a second chance, people to believe in them and support and guide them. That kind of relationship building is really the alternative to mass incarceration."

Another student said, "Coming here without an extensive background in prisons and prisoner advocacy was intimidating at first. Nonetheless, your patience and willingness to teach and share opened up my potential to learn vast amounts, and for that I am truly grateful."

To read more comments from the students, click here.