Rahsaan Thomas

College, clemency, and inside voices

By Charlotte West | September 12, 2022
Open Campus/College Inside

Clearing a final hurdle

One of our College Inside contributors got big news: Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, the inside host of the Ear Hustle podcast out of San Quentin, got word that he is going home in about 5 months. He cleared the last big hurdle last week when the California parole board signed off on Governor Newsom’s clemency.

Even though Rahsaan finished his associate’s degree – one of the factors cited by Newsom’s office as a reason for granting clemency  – in 2020, he also just celebrated his graduation in June. (Rahsaan recently wrote about his winding journey to a college degree for The Marshall Project.)

Don’t miss Rahsaan’s story we published earlier this year on why education matters for people serving extreme sentences. He’s also helping to build a prison-to-journalism pipeline with his non-profit, Empowerment Avenue.

“For those of us serving long sentences, recidivism rates and jobs can’t measure the success of our college education,” Rahsaan writes. “My pursuit of a degree started in 2016, approximately 16 years into a 55-years-to-life sentence. I would have to live to be 85 years old to evaluate whether an associate’s degree will break the cycle of incarceration that’s circled my adulthood.”

Attribution: This article originally appeared in Open Campus on Sept. 9, 2022.  Photo/R.J. Lozada