Since this story was published in the magazine, Ithaca College, largely through the efforts of sociology professor Elaine Leeder, has created a credit-granting program for inmates of the Elmira Correctional Facility.

I donít expect the front door of a maximum security prison to be unlocked. But I find no door buzzer, knocker, or intercom, and I begin to feel a bit helpless. Iím sure Iím being watched by someone here at Elmira Correctional Facility. Itís a cold evening, and Iím not dressed for it. I stand dumbly for another 30 seconds before I hit on the revolutionary idea of pulling on the door handle.


The door swings open. Inside is a dark vestibule, with a young man in uniform with sidearm to the right, behind a window. He seems to be expecting me and slides a guest book, tall and leather-bound, through the gap. I sign. The guard says, "Got some ID, boss?" I show him my driverís license.

He hits a buzzer, and the white bars swing open. I walk into a larger entranceway and take a seat on a hard pine bench. I am scheduled to meet deputy superintendent for education Robert Guzman, but itís not as simple as poking around looking for his office. At Elmira Correctional everyone is counted, and visitors are escorted. Beyond this room I see two more white steel gates. Guards pace. 

 

 
 
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