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How does it feel to live behind bars?

March 22, 2016

Photo of folded hands inside a jail cell doorNIU students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to experience “A Day in a Life of a Prisoner” from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in the Stevenson Smart Classroom of Stevenson Residence Hall.

First- and Second-Year Experience is hosting this event as a part of NIU’s 2015-2017 Common Reading Experience, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson. The book reminds readers that people are not defined by the worst actions they have ever done.

Attend this event to see what inmates are creating, learning and doing to work toward making a better life for themselves while serving time.

“A Day in the Life of a Prisoner” will be an open house event where attendees can walk through and experience various aspects of what a prisoner might face while incarcerated.

  • Participants will be “charged” with a crime and can learn about the different aspects of an inmate’s life behind bars
  • Come see the size of a jail cell, what a meal would look like and try your hand at a few jobs typically assigned to prisoners.
  • At 5:15 p.m., guest speaker Andre Joachim, a Juvenile Justice Council coordinator in the DeKalb County Community Action Department, will discuss his experiences working with people who are in prison starting at 5:15 p.m.

After “experiencing” what it feels like to life behind bars, participants are invited to write letters to people who are currently incarcerated. The letters can provide hope for someone who might feel hopeless about their situation. More information will be provided at the event.

First- and Second-Year Experience also asks participants to bring partially or unused gift cards to donate to the Gift Card Giver, a program that collects gift cards to donate to people in need or community organizations. The amount and original purpose for the card is irrelevant; the money can be bundled with other cards to make a big difference.

For more information, call (815) 753-0028 or email [email protected].