The Students from the
Northwestern Prison Education Program

This collection of short plays, written by incarcerated students at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, IL, is the result of a playwriting course taught by playwright and Goodman Theatre Artistic Associate Rebecca Gilman as part of the Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP).

Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, the Goodman Theatre planned to offer three live performances of the Stateville Voices plays: one at the Goodman, one at Kennedy-King College, and one at Stateville. The Goodman still intends to present Stateville Voices when it is safe to do so.

Robert Boyd

Robert Boyd was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago. He’s a Green Bay Packers fan, and would like to say thank you to all whom played a part in him becoming a better person.

Michael Broadway

Thank you Prof. Gillman for believing in us. Thank you family, friends, Northwestern faculty, and students for being generous with your time and efforts to help us shine. This is my play Project Windows. Enjoy.

Lester Carroll

“Mr. Church once said that a book should be read from the beginning to end, but best understood from end to beginning.” Thanks to Jennifer Lackey for reminding me of that, and for the opportunity to add the Northwestern Prison Education Program to the pages of my biography - a bestseller no doubt :)

Justin Cavazos

I came to prison at a young age. But I’ve managed to learn how to draw, do legit work and make it into NPEP.

Robert Cloutier

Grew up in prison. Consider myself fortunate to have this opportunity for an education.

Corzell Cole

NPEP means the world to me as tears fill my eyes, I understand that I wouldn’t be the man that I am if it wasn’t for NPEP and the Northwestern staff. I’m very grateful for the opportunities that NPEP has provided, and I’m looking forward to being released and reconnecting with my NPEP family.

Demetrice Crite

Demetrice “DC/DD” Crite was born in Louisville, KY, but grew up in Owensboro, KY, a village of people, both Black and White, raised him. He wants to thank his family, especially his mom, sister, Coach Steve Hart and most of all yes cousin André. Stay Golden!

Tyrone Daniels

Tyrone Daniels is a humanitarian, liberator and philosopher. He would like to thank the exquisite Rebecca Gillman as well as all the women who have shaped and who continue to touch his life.

Taurean Decatur

Taurean Decatur believes in having strong family ties, firm morals and unshakeable beliefs. He’d like to dedicate his play to his immediate family members and friends for the love, support and encouragement they share each and everyday.

Anthony Ehlers

Being in this degree program has meant a lot to me. I have been going through a lot, and this program has been an anchor. Making real connections, with real people makes you feel human again. Makes you feel like a real person.

Shareaf Fleming

I am Shareaf Fleming, a student who’s a son, husband, father, brother and uncle. I have grown, changed and matured and would love more opportunity to show the world that.

Lynn Green

Lynn Octavious Green grew up in Chicago, IL. He would like to thank Rebecca Gillman for teaching him the ways of a dramatist, and Jennifer Lackey for her care, guidance and leadership.

Craig Harvey

Being a part of NPEP to me, it means redemption and liberty. I believe the motivating factor of any person to evolve is learning – being educated. Not just learning in an institutionalized setting, but through socializing also. NPEP has afforded me an opportunity to meet some beautiful new people.

Todd Mandoline

Todd Mandoline enjoys both playing and watching basketball. He would like to thank his mother and father for their continued love and support.

Abdul-Malik Muhammad

Abdul is passionate about writing, he’s passionate and driven about learning. His play has been viewed at Albany Park Theatre before (a re-write of Three Little Pigs). He has been a Northwestern student for the past two years. And this education has been the purest form of love he has ever received and he’s so thankful for this opportunity. He also would like to thank his attorney H. Candace Gorman for supporting him—when its been hard to find family members and friends to come and support him. Please enjoy!

Antonio McDowell

Antonio is a lifetime seeker of truth. He wrote the play Candy and Comic Books to bring humor to an otherwise gloomy world. Antonio would like to thank Florine McDowell and Diane Spraggs, this two biggest supporters.

Benard McKinley

I would like to thank all of my professors, and tutors for their support while in this Northwestern Program. I would also like to thank all of my family who has attended this great night in support of me, and that I love you all.

André Patterson

Dré began writing as an exercise in introspection. He now hopes to use it as a tool of illumination, highlighting the mental obstacles that hinder us from becoming our best selves.

William Peeples

I am a fallen man in the process of redeeming my humanity. I stand on the foundation constructed by Prof. Jennifer Lackey who believed in me when no one else did.

James Soto

James Soto is a prisoner advocate, he has helped two people win full exonerations, and he has helped hundreds more gain new trials or sentence reductions. He has recently written for Columbia Writing Project and co-authored a paper in Public Philosophy Journal; and owe my appreciation for education to my mother.

Anthony Triplett

To my mother Alma, my hero, my first love, my best friend. Thank you for always being there. To my sister Shada, I love you more than words can express, always remember, I am my sister’s keeper…

Benard McKinley

I would like to thank all of my professors, and tutors for their support while in this Northwestern Program. I would also like to thank all of my family who has attended this great night in support of me, and that I love you all.

This past July, the Goodman premiered six of the twenty-one plays in a virtual version of Stateville Voices.  Three of the plays received video productions and three audio productions.  The plays were directed by Sydney Chatman, the Goodman’s immediate past Maggio Fellow.  Those plays, along with introductions by and to the playwrights, are available on the Goodman Theatre’s website

As is the case at prisons and jails across the country, the population at Stateville has been devastated by COVID19.  According to The Marshall Project, as of September 15, at least 125,730 incarcerated people had tested positive for coronavirus.  At least 1,066 have died.  The numbers of infections and deaths among staff at prisons – corrections officers, nurses, chaplains – has not been fully reported.  Estimates are that more than 27,632 prison staff members have tested positive.  Only 77 deaths have been publicly reported.

Stateville has been on full lockdown since March. NPEP programming is currently via correspondence.  Students are unable to receive any visitors, including immediate family.

The Goodman Theatre, the dedicated volunteers of NPEP, and the family and friends of the playwrights eagerly await the day they can gather in person and honor all the students and their wonderful work.  Until then, we present these plays here to draw attention to and celebrate the Stateville students and the mission of NPEP – to transform lives through education.

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