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Stepping into a Prison

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Shattering expectations

Alesha Hamilton, University of Cincinnati
Alesha Hamilton, University of Cincinnati

I have always had a passion for justice and equality. I am also fascinated in how the criminal justice system operates and how certain policies discriminate against particular groups of people. A while back, I was speaking with a mentor about my interest in criminal justice reform, and he told me that David Singleton would be the best person to talk to. After meeting David and learning about OJPC’s mission, I knew that OJPC was the place I wanted to intern for the summer.

I will never forget my first visit to Dayton Correctional Institution (DCI) to meet Tyra Patterson. It was only my third day in the office. I had never before met a ‘convicted felon,’ let alone stepped foot inside of a prison. Needless to say, I was nervous and unsure what to expect. The positive attitude of Tyra, and many other women in prison I met, amazed me. Tyra was funny, intelligent, and kind. Her personality was not what is typically depicted of people in prison. The experience shattered my expectations of incarcerated individuals.

Working at OJPC this summer has confirmed my career path. David encouraged me throughout the whole summer and taught me more about the legal field in three months than I had learned the previous 19 years of my life. This fall, I will continue to study Psychology and Criminal Justice on the Pre-Law track at the University of Cincinnati. Though I am still not certain how I will specifically use my degree to help those in the criminal justice system, interning at OJPC has strengthened my confidence that the legal/criminal justice field is a career path that will best allow me to help others.

Alesha Hamilton
University of Cincinnati, Class of 2018