What a German media researcher learned in the American men’s prison

When I am invited to posh restaurants and see politicians sitting at the next table, I think of a privileged life. I learned what privilege is in prison. I worked for three years – white, female, German – in a men’s prison with a medium security level in the USA. 80 percent of the inmates were African American, the national average.

I worked in a pilot project, on a voluntary basis. The idea: higher education should strengthen inmates and provide orientation for the time afterwards. First I worked as a tutor, then I helped set up a radio program. Finally, I gave a seminar on “Media and Democracy”. The question: Will the media live up to its role as the fourth estate? Of course, this question also applies to Germany, there is no need for a man’s prison in the USA.

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