Living and Giving

\”The Parents Are Saying, Get It Yourself\” – Patrick Mims, Alumnus, San Quentin Prison University Project

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Patrick Mims, Prison University Project Alumnus: \”I’ve worked with kids whose parents do not provide them with the basic essentials to go to schools. Bus money, lunch money, clothes. And the parents are saying, get it yourself. And if that’s the message they’re projecting to the child, then this is what’s going to happen.

Jody Lewen, Executive Director of the Prison University Project : So another point of intervention is with the child who has no support financially – providing for them –

PM: – or just saying, I’m proud of you.\” 

We think all support that happens in our life is physical. We need to get somewhere, eat something, have a book to become knowledgeable, skilled, confident. Yet as Patrick Mims, who is a Prison University Project Alumnus at San Quentin, states, sometimes the best support can come from the spirit.

A hug.

A bit of encouragement.

Or, \”I am just proud of you for who you are.\”

Tell someone today you are proud of them.  Boost their spirt and yours with a loving message of support.   They will go miles!


The mission of the Prison University Project is to provide excellent higher education programs to people incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison; to create a replicable model for such programs; and to stimulate public awareness and meaningful dialogue about higher education and criminal justice in California.

They provide approximately 20 courses each semester in the humanities, social sciences, math, and science leading to an Associate of Arts degree in liberal arts, as well as college preparatory courses in math and English, to over 300 students. The program is an extension site of Patten University in Oakland. All instructors work as volunteers. They receive no state or federal funding and rely entirely on donations from individuals and foundations.

The central goals of the College Program at San Quentin are to educate and challenge students intellectually; to prepare them to lead thoughtful and productive lives inside and outside of prison; to provide them with skills needed to obtain meaningful employment and economic stability post-release; and to prepare them to become providers, leaders, and examples for their families and communities.

Through the College Program at San Quentin, as well as other education and outreach activities, the Prison University Project also aims to challenge popular myths and stereotypes about people in prison; to publicly raise fundamental questions about the practice of incarceration; and to incubate and disseminate alternative concepts of justice, both within and beyond the academy.