Prison Inmates Share Harsh Realities of Incarceration through Project P.R.I.D.E. at Berkeley College

FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2019
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122


“Their raw emotion touched my heart.”
– Emani Davis, Berkeley College Justice Studies – Criminal Justice student

Inmate Nicole speaks with a large audience of Berkeley College students as part of Project PRIDE in Paramus 

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Inmates from New Jersey correctional facilities spoke to Berkeley College students about the harsh realities of substance abuse and the tragic choices that led to their incarceration as part of Project P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting Responsibility in Drug Education). The minimum-custody offenders, who are focused on rehabilitating the lives, advised students to stay focused on their goals and to make positive choices. 

“Once I let drugs into my life, it was one bad choice after another,” said Nicole, an inmate serving 15 years at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women for her involvement in a fatal shooting. “I hope you can all take something from my story and apply it to your life. It’s so easy to make a wrong turn and end up in a bad situation.” 

Students pursuing degrees in criminal justice, legal studies and other professions attended the event, held on July 25, 2019, at Berkeley College in Paramus, NJ. It is thesecond Project P.R.I.D.E. presentation hosted by Berkeley College this summer. 

“I had this image of what a drug addict looked like and it was not me,” said Jessica, a former elementary school teacher serving eight years for a robbery fueled by her addition to prescription drugs. “But the pills had me. I was hooked the very first time.” 

The panelists also shared the ways they have changed their lives through sobriety and the pursuit of higher education while incarcerated. Jack, convicted as a college student of selling drugs, plans to work with youth facing addiction when he is released. Edwin, who was sentenced for his role in a car crash that killed his fiancée, wants to continue telling his story as a motivational speaker. 

“The speakers did not have to share their stories, but it was important that they did,” said Emani Davis, a Justice Studies – Criminal Justice major from East Orange, NJ. She said the raw emotion shared by the panelist “touched my heart” and gave her insight into the criminal justice system where she may one day work. 

Lupe Ruiz of Bergenfield, a student studying Business Administration – Management, agreed that hearing the stories firsthand made a strong impact. “The most important message is that your decisions do not only affect you, but your family and the people around you,” she said.

Gary Krulish, Chair, Justice Studies – Criminal Justice, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies, said Project P.R.I.D.E. highlights how many crimes can be prevented. “This was an opportunity for students to grasp the gravity of an individual’s choices and the severity with which they could impact someone’s life,” Mr. Krulish said. 

Inmate Jessica speaks with Berkeley College students as part of Project PRIDE in Paramus  

Photo Captions: Nicole (top) and Jessica (above), inmates at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, share their experiences with addiction and the tragic choices that led to their incarceration. As part of Project P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting Responsibility in Drug Education), the inmates encouraged Berkeley College students to stay focused on their goals and to make positive choices. 

About Berkeley College 

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,000 students – including more than 350 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ. 

Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are four campuses – Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For six consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is 

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