Thursday, September 14, 2017

From Indiana prison to NYU Ph.D.: The redemption and rejection of Michelle Jones

THE NEW YORK TIMES
By Eli Hager
Michelle Jones, a Ph.D. candidate at N.Y.U., was released from prison in August after serving 20 years. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
NEW YORK---Michelle Jones was released last month after serving more than two decades in an Indiana prison for the murder of her 4-year-old son. The very next day, she arrived at New York University, a promising Ph.D. candidate in American studies. In a breathtaking feat of rehabilitation, Ms. Jones, now 45, became a published scholar of American history while behind bars, and presented her work by videoconference to historians’ conclaves and the Indiana General Assembly. With no internet access and a prison library that hewed toward romance novels, she led a team of inmates that pored through reams of photocopied documents from the Indiana State Archives to produce the Indiana Historical Society’s best research project last year. As prisoner No. 970554, Ms. Jones also wrote several dance compositions and historical plays, one of which is slated to open at an Indianapolis theater in December. [More]