Jason Sole is a former gang member and three-time convicted felon turned community educator. He now works on reducing recidivism and bringing attention to the racial and economic disparities that lead to mass incarceration.
"At the end of the day, I see poor people going through the system through assembly line justice," says Sole. "I see it as a poverty issue. I see it as a mental health issue. I see a school to prison pipeline. A lot of this revolves around race, lack of resources, mental health, chemical dependency and things like that. Some people who get caught with drugs go to treatment, other people go to prison, and unfortunately, a lot of those people look like me."
During this River to River interview, host Ben Kieffer talks with Sole, who's now an adjunct faculty member at Hamline University and author of From Prison to PhD: A Memoir of Hope, Resilience, and Second Chances.
Sole will be in Iowa this week as a speaker in Iowa City's Witching Hour Festival. His presentation, “From Prison to PhD: A Journey of Pain, Promise, and Protest” is Friday, November 4 at 5:00 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library.