URI student from Cumberland enjoys corrections
Amanda Condon to receive degree this May
KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 25, 2002 -- One of Amanda Condons favorite televisionshows is Law and Order.
"Ive always been fascinated by behavior, especially criminal, deviant behavior and what could be done to get the person back on track," says the 21-year-old Cumberland resident who has been impressing professors at the University of Rhode Island since she arrived in 1998. Next month, Condon will walk across the stage to receive her diploma summa cum laude.
"Amanda is in the top one percent of students I have taught," said criminologist Leo Carroll who joined URIs Sociology Department in 1972. "Shes an outstanding scholar."
Condon credits her three classes with Carroll for her interest in corrections. "I realized that there are a number of social issues at play," says the psychology major and forensic sciences minor. "For instance, due vastly to political culture and social policy, the number of people going to prison has skyrocketed, yet crime rates have generally remained the same. To fund the increased population of inmates in the correctional system, education and social programs are removed from disadvantaged neighborhoods. Failing to fund education and social programs in low income neighborhoods can in turn lead to crime and a vicious cycle gets created.
While her undergraduate courses taught her to think critically about society and politics, her internships have reaffirmed her passion for law and public administration.
For example, last summers internship with the Rhode Islands Attorney Generals Office was an eye-opener. Condon was in the first class of interns that worked for the Kindling Project, the first community prosecution effort undertaken in Rhode Island. The innovative program combines the efforts of the Attorney Generals Office, local police, fire, and public health departments, other city agencies, and community action groups to improve the physical atmosphere and social climate of low-income neighborhoods. The program focused on nine blocks in South Providence where the most murders occurred in 2000. A portion of her assignment was to research the projects progress over the past year. "After reviewing literature and conducting interviews, I was astounded by the advancement the project made. It made me realize that with proper coordination and cooperation among government agencies, huge obstacles could be overcome," says the URI student.
During this spring semester, shes interning at the Department of Corrections Home Confinement Unit, conducting assessment interviews on inmates, participating in site checks and court proceedings. Among her other duties, she was assigned to research effective home confinement rules and policies and suggest ways the Rhode Island program can be improved. The government does not allow any prisoner on home confinement to live in federally owned subsidized housing, according to Condon who sees this rule as an impediment. "Not everyone can go home to mom or afford to pay the rent," she says.
As an intern, Condon realizes she cant implement her suggestions. As an administrator or legislator, she would be able to create and amend law and policies. The prospect excites her.
She has applied to several law schools and is thinking about a degree that combines law and public administration. As another option, shes also applying for a job at the Department of Corrections and would, in that case, attend graduate school at night.
"As a child, Girl Scouting instilled in me the desire and the ability to be a leader, a sense of obligation to my community, and a determination to better circumstances for others," notes the URI senior who earned a Gold Award and Gold Leadership Pin, which is equivalent to the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Award.
This Girl Scout could well be a prime time player initiating meaningful political reform. Wouldnt televisions Jack, Lenny, and Ed be pleased?
For Information: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116