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Former prison teacher works to dispel prejudice against inmates

Flickr user Jobs For Felons Hub/Flickr
Wenzel taught inmates for 25 years and she said she was surprised "almost every day." Many prisoners were grieving or suffered from illness. And yet, she said, they were open to deep conversations.

When you think of "prison inmates," what's the first thing that comes to mind?

For many, it might be the face of someone convicted for a high-profile, brutal crime.

For others, it may be the image of some vague, homogenous mass of "bad" people who are best locked away. 

Judy Patterson Wenzel begs to differ.

After a quarter-century teaching in a classroom in Milan Prison, she has retired. She now works to dispel the prejudice that prisons create, to help us on the outside to know her students who are on the inside. 

GUEST Judy Patterson Wenzel is an author, educator and social activist based in Ann Arbor.

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