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'Literacy Is The Pathway To Freedom' And Other Thoughts From A Graduation Ceremony Behind Bars

Rowan Moore Gerety
Many of the Exchange for Change graduates wrote about the power of the pen in prison.

The fall semester is over for students across South Florida—and at Exchange for Change, it's been a particularly meaningful semester. 

The program teaches writing and fosters literacy within South Florida prisons, and earlier this month, it hosted a formal graduation ceremony at Everglades Correctional Institution.

There were no caps or gowns, just the same blue uniform of every other day, but graduates were called up to a microphone to read their work to the audience of fellow inmates, guards and civilian teachers and visitors.

"It's important that we put a face on mass incarceration, and there's no better way to do that than one person at a time," said Exchange for Change founder Kathie Klarreich.

WLRN attended the event and has this audio postcard:

You can learn more about Exchange for Change projects—including the launch of a new book of stories and poetry from incarcerated authors—at exchange-for-change.org. Classes start up again in January.