MTC Alumni, Jonathan Chiu

Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Chiu

By Jonathan Chiu | June 25, 2020

Many of our former students remain committed to a life of service upon paroling and are often strong advocates for those still inside. We’re proud to share the following reflection from our alumni community.

The Prison University Project works towards the incarcerated in fighting for them to achieve higher education. I’m inspired by the dedication of the volunteers and how they are passionate about volunteering their own time.

Even though I never graduated from the Prison University Project, I have been to many graduation ceremonies and see how the graduates themselves are more confident and have a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. I’ve also seen how proud their families feel from siblings, parents, kids, and relatives. The hard work and dedication to achieving a college degree goes beyond a piece of paper.

For former students, giving back to those incarcerated is a must. We were all given a second chance. There are still our brothers inside that need our support in any way possible, whether helping them achieve their freedom or a higher sense of purpose.

I left prison on May 1, 2020. I am not ashamed of who I am, a formerly incarcerated citizen and my past is a part of who I am. If we can’t accept other people for who they are, then the meaning of life itself will never be revealed.

College taught me to always sit in the back of the class when you want to get other work done. 🙂

Education overall provides opportunity to the incarcerated. When you walk into any prison classroom, the majority of students are people of color and that is a systemic issue. The fact that Prison University Project offers a free education to the disenfranchised and system impacted, it lets them see a future without bars both physically and mentally.

I am passionate about comedy, community service, and social justice.

Since paroling this spring, I’ve been reconnecting with society in general, formerly incarcerated friends, and hoping to find work, love, and a winning lotto ticket.

Please note that the Prison University Project became Mount Tamalpais College in September 2020.