Incarceration’s Stigma – Ronald Day


Ronald F. Day opted to drop out of high school in the ninth grade and began peddling drugs. Within a few years, he had been arrested multiple times. Some of his friends had become addicted to drugs, others had been shot or stabbed and some killed, and still others had been sentenced to lengthy prison terms. He, too, ended up becoming a statistic. For devaluing and demoralizing his community and putting people’s lives at risk (he was convicted of attempted murder and other lesser included offenses), he was sentenced to 15 to 45 years in state prison.

His post-secondary educational began in a classroom in Sing Sing, a notorious maximum security prison. He enrolled in the college prison program, and for the first time in his life contemplated the possibility of earning a college degree.

He went on to work in the law library of three different facilities, where he was able to do extensive research and writing. He also worked as a facilitator and then director of Prisoners for AIDS Counseling and Education, and a peer counselor for the Transitional Services Center. Because he was convicted of a violent offense, he was required to participate in Aggression Replacement Therapy (ART), a program sponsored by the Department of Correctional Services.

Within months of his release from prison, he enrolled in SUNY Empire State College and began working for The Osborne Association, one of the oldest criminal justice agencies in the country. Because of his prison college experience, he was able to complete his studies at Empire in three semesters. Not long after he graduated, he went to work for Empire part-time as an alumni peer coach.

After graduating from Empire, he pursued graduate studies at Baruch College, where he was accepted into the School of Public Affairs. He graduated in two years with a cumulative GPA of 3.82 and was later initiated into Pi Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration.

He is currently at Ph.D instructor at John Jay College in New York.

After five years and 30 days of being on parole, on September 28, Ronald Day was discharged from parole. He is now free to register to vote and apply for a passport permitting him to travel internationally.