Six years ago, Prophet Walker didn’t think he’d be going to Loyola Marymount University any time soon.
At that time, Walker was serving part of a six-year sentence for assault that had been handed down to him for a high school fight.
But it was thanks to an innovative program that he co-created with a Hollywood producer within the state prison walls that Walker was able to continue his studies and prepare himself for college after his release.
Sound too unusual to be true? NBC Nightly News aired a story about Walker’s odyssey, and his friendship with blockbuster producer Scott Budnick (“The Hangover”; “Due Date”), on May 8. See below for the full video.
Budnick had long volunteered in a writing program for juveniles in Los Angeles County facilities. But he was often concerned about what would happen to the youths when they got old enough to transition into state prisons.
“I had to watch them go into an adult prison system that, if no one intervenes, is going to grind them up and spit them out,” he said.
Walker and Budnick prevailed on prison officials to create a new program, which identifies promising youthful offenders within the California system and steers them into a dorm-like environment with better education and job training programs than the rest of the state prisons.
NBC News correspondent Chelsea Clinton came to LMU recently to interview Walker and learn more about the program.
Walker told her about how he’s been able to find direction in his life after completing an associate’s degree while incarcerated, and in his further studies at LMU.
“It’s when you begin to believe in yourself and accept the power than you have — how great you could be,” he said.