Reopening the Door to Education for Prison Scholar John Moore

John Moore

Moore speaking at the end-of-semester celebration for the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program in Dec. 2023.

While incarcerated at the D.C. Jail, John Moore found an unexpected opportunity to get his college education back on track as a Georgetown Prison Scholar. 

The Georgetown Prisons Scholars Program allows students, like Moore, to take classes and earn college credits while at the D.C. Jail. 

“It’s been amazing to come to this place and go to college,” Moore said while speaking at an end-of-semester celebration in December 2023. “My life has turned around, and I have a completely new outlook and drive to move on.”

Since joining the program in the spring of 2023, Moore took a variety of for-credit courses in subjects including writing, theology, personal finance, criminal justice, history, and web design. Anthropology of Religion, taught by Annalisa Butticci, an assistant professor at Georgetown University, quickly became Moore’s favorite course. He enjoyed that the class discussions exposed him to different religious practices and beliefs. 

“He exceeds the class requirements to satisfy his curiosity and love for learning,” Butticci said of Moore. She added that “he is uncommonly generous in sharing his experiences and knowledge.” 

The academics were not the only thing Moore took away from his experience with the Prison Scholars Program. 

“I got to be around people who want to do better, who don’t see this as the worst part of your life,” he said. “I’ve genuinely enjoyed being here.” 

Moore and his classmates formed connections with one another which made his experience more enjoyable. Those feelings are certainly mutual; Butticci said that Moore’s classmates “love to listen to him.” Moore and his peers attend class and learn together, but they are also exposed to each others’ feelings, stories, and beliefs. 

“This is a great place to change your life,” he said. 

Moore’s struggles with mental health and drug addiction got in the way of him going back to school prior to his incarceration. Now, Moore plans to continue his education when he is released in the next few years.

The Prison Scholars Program has been a source of hope for Moore throughout his incarceration and has helped him look forward to his next steps once he returns home. 

“Rehabilitation is the key. People will inevitably be locked up, but programs like this see a way forward,” he said. “I’ve been reminded in this program that I still have a life when I get out.”

“Rehabilitation is the key. People will inevitably be locked up, but programs like this see a way forward.”

John Moore
Prison Scholars