HAZLETON, Pa. — Criminal justice majors and other Penn State Hazleton students recently received a glimpse into the inner-workings of the Pennsylvania court and prison systems.
Cindy Janoskey, 63, who spent time in state prison for drug convictions, shared her experiences with students in Assistant Teaching Professor of Criminal Justice Dan Gutierrez’s “Corrections” class.
Gutierrez traditionally takes his classes to visit a state prison in person but was unable to recently due to COVID-19. By bringing Janoskey to visit his class, Gutierrez ensured his students did not miss out on the special opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of life behind bars, he said.
“This is a unique learning experience for them to be able to sit face-to-face with someone who has spent time in prison,” Gutierrez said. “You cannot get this experience from a textbook.”
Janoskey explained how she turned to drugs at a young age because of turmoil within her personal life and wound up arrested, convicted, and sent to prison twice over the years. She described her daily routine and the programs and services she received while behind bars. She also shared how, while in prison, she developed and ran a women's rehabilitation program.
“I’ve certainly made my fair share of mistakes,” she said. “But hopefully my experiences can be a lesson to others.”
Students took advantage of the opportunity to engage with Janoskey, asking her questions about prison health services, her legal representation, and her life's story.
“I was glad to have students see the human side behind people in prison,” Gutierrez said.