Can someone currently serving time in a US prison be inspired by an ancient Babylonian epic poem written 4,000 years ago? A prison education program inspires incarcerated participants to become university students upon their release. By studying the epic poem of Gilgamesh in their philosophy class, students currently serving a prison sentence engage with big philosophical questions: Who am I? How did I get here? What does it mean to have a legacy? How do you free your mind in a place where freedom isn’t possible: prison?
Volunteer educators use Theatre of the Oppressed techniques to reach their incarcerated students. Each class the students breakdown internalized walls they have created, becoming more communicative, empathetic, even vulnerable as a result of the learning culture created inside the prison.