This spring I’ve joined the team of the (US-based) Prison Math Project as a contributing writer-educator. The PMP is an amazing project, the brainchild of inmate and math prodigy Christopher Havens. My initial contribution will be through a Learn Your Way column to appear in issues of the PMP newsletter, that publishes about three times per year and circulates (as permitted and available) to interested subscribers – inmates and administrators – of the US penal system.
My first LYW column has just been published in PMP newsletter #6, and is wending its way through complex and sometimes subterranean prison access portals.
My involvement in the PMP arose through Claire Finlayson, now editor of the PMP newsletter. Claire, who lives nearby to me in Gibsons, was recruited to the project on the basis of her remarkable book, Dispatches from Ray’s Planet: Travels with Autism (2020, Caitlin Press). Just how this all came about is a longer story and you’re welcome to ask Claire about it!
Anyways, my interest in writing a LYW column for the PMP newsletter is to offer support and some guidance to prison inmates interested in learning math and other subjects, too. My hope is that this may help them achieve learning goals and develop new attitudes about their own learning potential. Evidently, a majority of US and Canadian prison populations (male especially) are known to have disproportionate incidence (compared to non-incarcerated populations) of mental health issues, many of which co-present as learning difficulties or disabilities. I translate that as meaning they didn’t succeed very well in schooling experiences for various reasons, which is a recognized trajectory to mental health problems and incarceration.
I can’t change their past learning lives or experiences but perhaps I can offer support to these people whose lives may benefit from the insights I share.
I’ve attached my full LYW column to this entry, below. Please contact me if you have questions or comments.