I went to prison today… For a good cause

Kyes Stevens (left) and Alex Chisum

by Armand DeKeyser, Executive Director

Alabama Humanities Foundation funds a project through Auburn University and an array of other organizations supporting education for prisoners in the Alabama Department of Corrections system. The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Program (APAEP) offers literature and art classes in prisons across the state.

Today, Kyes Stevens, Founder and Director of APAEP, and Alex Chisum, class instructor, escorted AHF Grants Director Thomas Bryant and me to the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer where we observed a class.

Today, the inmates focused on poetry and inspiring expression through poetry. The two-hour class was complete with very active inter-change and unique observations as the students discussed several published poems as well as their own written compilations. Stevens, the long-time project director, told us how valuable prison education programs are, which include literature, history and art subjects. The value of the programs, according to Stevens, is very strong. AHF’s aid helps promote and prepare many of the inmates to deal with life after their sentence is completed, improve their communication skills and helps them find a sense of self-worth – which is vital to preventing recidivism.

Click here for more information about APAEP.


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