Newly released Georgetown Prison Scholars participant reflects on his studies

Halim Flowers, a participant in the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program at the DC Jail, has been released from the DC Jail after 22 years. The Hoya reports that Flowers, who published 11 books while incarcerated, took classes in government and philosophy offered by Georgetown faculty and attended weekly lectures by guest speakers versed in humanities and social sciences.

“Those relationships with the students and the professors, they are beneficial because they exposed me to resources I am not aware of, and I exposed them to resources they were not aware of, so it’s a cross-cultural exchange that benefits both parties,” Flowers told The Hoya.

Professor Marc Howard, founder of the Georgetown Prisons and Justice Initiative, first got to know Flowers in his class about democratization. According to Howard, Flowers’ educational pursuits factored into the court’s decision to release him early from a 40-year-to-life sentence.

“I would say that [Flowers] is one of the best students I’ve ever had in the classroom in my 16 years of teaching at Georgetown,” Howard told The Hoya, adding that “[Flowers] is a person of tremendous intelligence, dedication, and integrity.”

The Prison Scholars Program brings Georgetown undergraduate students to learn in the DC Jail alongside incarcerated students. Georgetown undergraduate Hashwinder Singh (C’20), Flowers’ classmate, said “The empowerment each of these men and women get from their Georgetown education cannot be overstated.”

Now free, Flowers will finish two credit-bearing courses offered through the Scholars Program, English Literature and the History of African American Political Thought, outside the jail.

Learn more about Georgetown’s prison and justice programs

Georgetown is home to several efforts aimed at addressing the problem wrongful incarceration and educating inmates while they are in prison and after their release. These include Georgetown’s Prisons and Justice Initiative, the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program at the DC Jail, a Prison Reform Project course, its custom paralegal program for returning citizens, and its Pivot Program. Last year, the work of students in Georgetown’s Prison Reform Project course helped free Valentino Dixon, who had been wrongfully convicted and served in jail for 27 years before he was released this past September.

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