In 2002 a group of five prisoners at San Quentin State Prison in California submitted a list of proposals to improve their education. The men were part of an accredited college program that linked university-based volunteers with inmates who could, through its courses, earn an Associate of Arts degree. Viêt Mike Ngo, one of the petitioning prisoner-students, states that:

We requested that the decision-making process concerning classes taught and who teaches them be more inclusive; that a student body committee and one veteran volunteer be created to facilitate this process. We specifically asked for more Ethnic Studies classes due to demand from volunteer professors and prisoner students. We disagreed to plans of corporate sponsorship without first seeking or receiving input from the student body and objected to the local prison policy that prohibited correspondence between prisoners and volunteers, citing that it violated prison regulations as well as the First Amendment.1