A PhD From Prison – By Eric Burnham

Eric Burnham

For over 20 years now, I have been inmate # 12729124, but my name is Eric. I am serving a 25-to-life sentence for second-degree murder. On September 5, 2001 I took a man’s life during a fight that I started while drunk, creating a ripple effect of pain and suffering that damaged countless lives. I take full responsibility for how my violence harmed others, and early in my prison sentence I made the decision to do something about it, although back then I didn’t know what.

When I was arrested, I was 21-years-old, staggeringly narcissistic, addicted to alcohol, marijuana, and methamphetamines, lost behind the mask I used to hide my shortcomings, and profoundly undereducated–I didn’t even have a GED. I acted out in ways I thought would effectively conceal my insecurities, and I pretended to be someone I am not.

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Art of Communication: Jerome’s Story

The Art of Communication is a program offered to qualifying adults in custody (AICs) at a number of Oregon Department of Corrections’ institutions across the state. Developed by Chaplain Trime Persinger at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI), the course teaches AICs how to build positive relationships and manage conflict situations through everyday conversations. This post is part of a series which aims to share the stories of AICs who have been impacted by the program.

Below, AIC Jerome Sloan explains how the program has changed his mindset. AIC Sloan shared his experience with Trime Persinger, who wrote it down as follows:

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Art of Communication: Reginald’s Story

The Art of Communication is a program offered to qualifying adults in custody (AICs) at a number of Oregon Department of Corrections’ institutions across the state. Developed by Chaplain Trime Persinger at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI), the course teaches AICs how to build positive relationships and manage conflict situations through everyday conversations. This post is part of a series which aims to share the stories of AICs who have been impacted by the program.

Below, AIC Reginald Johnson uses language taught in the program to help another AIC shift their perspective. AIC Johnson shared his experience with Trime Persinger, who wrote it down as follows:

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