It’s a relief that you finally get an opportunity to do the right thing.
Rachel Rasmussen, EJP Instructor
So what is it like to tutor within a prison?
Rachel Rasmussen, of all people, should know. She has worked with EJP since September of 2009. Today she is the student resources and tutor coordinator, a position that involves selecting and training all EJP tutors.
“It’s like stepping into a different world.” Rasmussen says. “You have to listen very closely, and not assume.”
Rasmussen, who has also taught a course in theology at Danville prison, says her motivation in working for EJP is two-fold, explaining first that, “I believe that education changes people and that giving a good, humane education to the incarcerated is going to equip them to pay their debt to society. I’m motivated by the fact that educating the incarcerated just makes really good sense.”
And secondly, “I’m motivated to do it because it feels like something concretely anti-racist,” she says, explaining that, as a white person, she views her participation in EJP as a means to rectify the race-based imbalance of social privilege in the U.S.
To sum up her feelings about EJP, Rasmussen says simply, “It’s a relief that you finally get an opportunity to do the right thing.”