While she was a student at Quinnipiac, Sabrina Acosta ’20 learned that working in the criminal justice system requires empathy, understanding and respect.
Acosta, a double major in criminal justice and sociology, credits an array of courses — including Race and Ethnicity, Crime and Media, and Hip-Hop Culture — with expanding her knowledge of different groups of people, their perspectives and experiences.
However, it was the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, a seminar course that enabled her to communicate with — and learn alongside — inmates in a local prison that truly opened her eyes.
“You learn so much about yourself and those living on the inside,” Acosta said. “It was inspiring and really pushed me to be the voice for those who aren’t being heard.”
Acosta discussed numerous issues with “inside students” ranging from citizenship and identity to social class, race and gender. The experience gave her insight into how the state Department of Correction works and the struggles faced by the currently and formerly incarcerated.
“Society says it is ‘reform and reentry,’ but some people were not given a first chance,” she said. “That, to me, means that others must then step up and advocate.”
Now that Acosta has graduated, she is eager to step up and ensure that previously incarcerated individuals get their chance. She hopes to become a warden someday, work in reform programs or possibly start her own nonprofit organization.