Glenn Martin knows exactly the kind of difference getting an education can make for a person behind bars. When Martin was 23, he was sentenced to six years in prison for robbery. That time, he told TIME on Friday, was arguably the lowest point in his life.
But a meeting he had with a correction’s officer during his early days behind bars in state prison in New York changed his life. After reviewing his file, the officer suggested that he consider advancing his education and enrolling in college courses.
“That was the first time anyone had ever said to me ‘you should go to college,’” Martin says. “I grew up in [the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn]. I distinctly remember people saying the opposite to me.”
While in prison, Martin was able to earn his associate’s degree through a prison education program called the Consortium of the Niagara Frontier, one…
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