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Law Field Trip To San Quentin

Melissa Perez, Staff Writer

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The weather was cloudy and starting to drizzle. The whole ride there I honestly was pretty nervous because it isn’t everyday I go to a prison. So we finally arrive and the outside actually looks pretty nice but I know it’s going to be really ugly once we’re inside. We go inside and I expect to see these really big men with tattoos and mean faces (like in the movies) and it’s the total opposite. I look around and we are in what they call the “plaza”. It’s actually very peaceful and beautiful. I see prisoners just smiling and fixing the plants and walking around the place and I was just shocked. We go inside their church and we actually have a conversation with about 12 prisoners. They were literally right in front of me since I was in the front row. It really didn’t get into my head that these men in front of me had committed some of the worst crimes a person could ever do. We asked a ton of questions like how old they were and how long they’ve been in there. One man had been in for 44 years and is actually going to be released pretty soon. As they were talking about their lives I didn’t even notice that I was getting a little emotional. It was amazing how much their stories touched me. So fast-forward, they showed us around almost the whole prison. It was bigger than I expected. We saw places like the hospital, where they made the furniture, and the yard. We even saw where they made their newspaper! All in all, it was a field trip I will never forget. In my 17 years of life I would have never thought what an impact it would have on me. I realized how things like the media, news, and people impact the way you think prison is than what it actually is. I’m 99.9 percent sure that your perspective on inmates will change once you are in there and have a conversation with them. These men have made some mistakes but they’re in there for a reason. They’re in there to let us, the new generation of leaders, know that we have choices in life. We have the power to choose if we want to live a good life or if we want to live a hard life. These men have made me think about the life I want to live. Thank you Ms. Blades and thank you Law Academy!

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Law Field Trip To San Quentin