A College Career for One Man at the Taft Facility

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Lindell Brown walks alongside Warden Craig Apker at the Taft Correctional Institution in California. He’s been in prison for three years.

“When I was at a higher institution prior to coming to Taft, I heard about the educational programs here; and that was just the driving force for me wanting to come here and since being here, it’s been everything that I expected.”

Lindell is like a sponge, soaking up every class, course, and program he can get his hands on. He had always planned on getting a college degree.

“It’s always been a dream of mine. When I graduated from high school, my first major at the community college was criminal justice, but unfortunately, I took that fork in the road and it has led me to various times of incarceration.”

Lindell says the Taft facility has been a tremendous asset to his personal growth.

“Since I’ve been here, it’s lived up to my expectations. I mean as far as the institution, working in conjunction with the outside colleges—it has just been smooth. Dealing with the instructors, everything has been great.”

Through the facility’s partnership with Taft College, Lindell earned an associate of science degree in general business and an associate’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis in business and technology.

When he’s released in 2021, he’ll re-enter society with these degrees and certificates in business management and customer service.

And get this—Lindell is the first offender to make the Taft College President’s List.

“Most people are pretty familiar with the term ‘Dean’s List’. Well, at Taft College, it’s known as the President’s List. So you must take, on average, 12 units or more and acquire a 3.5 grade point average or better.”

But Lindell hasn’t kept all this education to himself. He’s part of a few offenders who go out into the community and encourage high school students to stay out of trouble.

“You don’t know the rewards that are given in seeing what you give. It’s a rewarding feeling. And it’s not just what we give to the community, it’s what it does for us. It’s very therapeutic.”

It’s been so therapeutic, Lindell’s goal is to return to his home in Las Vegas and start his own youth outreach program to help young people stay out of trouble.

He says he couldn’t have gotten where he is today without the incredible support of the warden and his staff.

“The staff has been very supportive, the counselors, the case managers, the unit managers, the assistant wardens, everybody has been very supportive of all programs offered here so everything is functioning great. I think they have a genuine interest in people in regards to us becoming productive citizens and living good lives. I personally, from my experience, being in the Bureau of Prisons and being in other institutions—I’m a happy camper here at MTC, with MTC managing the program. So if MTC can remain here, I know that there’s a great chance my programs can continue to remain here.”