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          E-mail: lilykatz@uw.edu 
Cell: (206)948-7481

Transformational Moment:  

As a junior, I took a class on higher education in prison at the Monroe Correctional Complex with 10 UW students and 10 inmates. Going into it, I held the belief that everyone — even criminals — deserves the right to an education. And while I still stand firm in that belief, I left with an understanding of the other side’s argument. I now empathize with the struggling mother who doesn’t want her tax dollars to go toward educating felons when she can’t afford to send her own kid to college. But I also remember the inmate who can’t afford an education because the DOC deducts a huge chunk of any check sent by friends or family.

My fascination continued later on in my junior year when I received a jury summons in the mail. Most people cringe at the thought of jury duty, but I was excited. I was chosen to sit on the jury for a criminal trial involving two men who had been illegally scrapping and selling metal from an old barge under the West Seattle Bridge to fuel their heroin habits.

Being part of the process and witnessing firsthand how the American justice system functions was a learning experience I won’t forget. The public defenders on the case were either inexperienced or slammed with work (or both; one even called her client by the wrong name), and I began to wonder if the Sixth Amendment — which includes the right to a counsel for defense — is really being taken seriously today. Sitting on the jury reinforced my interest in crime and led me to wonder how governments across the globe handle it differently. 

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