Exoneree Alan Newton focuses on education
Innocence Project client
was exonerated in 2006 after serving 21 years in 12 New York prisons for a rape he didn’t commit. He had studied in prison, collecting nearly enough credits for an undergraduate degree, and now he is finishing that degree at Medgar Evers College with the help of a scholarship from the
Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund
. He is also working as a counselor with the Male Development and Empowerment Center, a CUNY group aimed at encouraging men to enroll in college and finish.
“I couldn’t expect anyone to carry my torch,” Newton says. “When you go to people for help, you have to show them what you are doing for yourself before they help you.”
Newton’s counseling experience thus far has led him to conclude that the biggest obstacle Black male students face in college is lack of resources and distractions. “In prison, there was nothing to do but study.” But it’s hard to imagine anything stopping him now.
“I use myself as an example of how you can overcome anything,” Newton says. “They may have a criminal conviction or low SAT scores, but I encourage them and tell them, ‘School will encourage your growth.’ I say, ‘Enjoy school, and do it while you’re young.’”
Read the full story here
. (Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 02/22/07)
Newton and other New York exonerees recently called for the
creation of a New York Innocence Commission
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