“I know the knowledge I have gained at OJPC will be with me forever, wherever I go.”
Coming into this internship, I had a minimal understanding of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. I knew it was a non-profit law firm that helped people who had dealt with problems with the criminal justice system, but the broad horizon of what they actually do here is more than I had expected. I am a fourth year student this fall semester at Ohio University, and I intend to graduate this upcoming spring with a bachelors degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. I could not have picked a better internship to broaden my understanding of the Criminal justice system. I decided to apply to intern at the OJPC because I am driven to help people, and that is the main objective of this organization—to remove barriers people experience after facing the criminal justice system.
I will not forget my visit to the Hamilton County Justice Center. I was nervous before entering the Center, because I had never been inside a prison or jail around real life inmates. It affected me a lot. I used to think all incarcerated people were simply inmates and bad people. In reality, some of the people incarcerated are just normal people like me who had made mistake, but were paying their debt to society.
What I have taken away from this internship is that good people can make bad decisions and mistakes without thinking about the consequences and how the consequences can have a negative impact on the rest of their lives. After reading the surveys and the letters from people in prison, I have learned that people should not be judged only just because they made mistakes. They are still humans, and after their sentence, they will be back in society, hopefully ready to become an active, legal piece of the puzzle which is society.
Honestly, this summer has altered my career path. Whenever I mention my major to anyone, they ask if I will attempt to become a law student and go on to become a lawyer. I have less interest in doing so than before I started this summer. I am not sure what I will do after college, but I know law school is not for me. I want to go on to help people any way that I can also make money to support my lifestyle and eventually a family, but to limit my future aspirations to one occupation would be a theft of my potential. I do not know where I will be in five years, but I know the knowledge I have gained at OJPC will be with me forever, wherever I go.
Maximillian Schneider, Ohio University