Tae Kyu Lee

Tae Kyu Lee

Project Title: The Formation of the American Criminal Justice System and the Role of Education Before, During, and After Incarceration.

Project Description: The ultimate goal of my proposed College Scholar project is to learn about the criminal legal system through a holistic, interdisciplinary lens to see how education can be utilized to promote a more transformative and rehabilitative form of justice than our current punitive system. First, I will examine the incarceration system in the United States, drawing on the historical, economic, cultural, and social factors that shaped the carceral system to the way it is today. Some themes I hope to explore in this section are the role of race in politics, incarceration as an economic tool, and policing as a mode of social control. Second, I want to frame and examine the American prison system through the lens of a different country’s history and culture, as I believe that doing so would help me understand what differences between the two countries that led to the differing prison systems. Thirdly, I will study the impact of education on individuals throughout the three stages of incarceration: childhood education as a way to deter at-risk youths from criminal activity (before incarceration), prison education programs as a way of rehabilitation (during), and education during reentry as a method of social mobility and reintegration into society (after). By doing so, I hope to learn about the impact of education on social development, and how it interplays with crime and incarceration. I also plan on learning about specific educational strategies and methods that are particularly effective for prison education programs. 

Most Important Accomplishment: My most important accomplishment is following my passion for educational equity and creating a nonprofit organization called Pass the Torch. Since I started this organization in 2020, I have had the chance to work with volunteers and students from every corner of the world while providing genuine social impact. 

 

 I found the College Scholar Program to be a supportive and brilliant community of peers that have an extremely diverse array of interdisciplinary interests. I learn something new constantly, and their passions inspire me to push myself and work towards my goal. I also appreciate the flexibility and independence that the program provides— it gives me complete agency over my education.