Excerpt from Yahoo! News, published April 21, 2023

Written by Garin Flowers,  National Reporter and Producer

The Chillicothe Correctional Center in Missouri has a preference for what it calls its incarcerated women: students.

One of them is 44-year-old Aleicia Nolan-Jones. Her story of becoming a college graduate has been a long journey.

The mother from Kansas City, Kan., was arrested more than two decades ago. “In an instant, I went from being a 23-year-old college student and mother of three to offender No. 1088317,” she said.

Nolan-Jones became pregnant at 17 to a man who was married and 14 years older than her, she said. She dropped out during her senior year of high school but eventually received her diploma the next summer. In 1998 she gave birth to her second child, so her dream of going to college was put on hold again. She finally entered school in 1999 as a nursing student at the age of 21. Three years and a third child later, she was 18 months away from graduating with her nursing degree. But the dynamics surrounding her relationship with her children’s father turned deadly.