Nightly News | May 08, 2012
>>> time now for our making a difference report tonight. it's hard to imagine a bigger contrast between hollywood's power players and those in the criminal justice system . chelsea clinton has tonight's "making a difference" report.
>> i wasn't supposed to come to jail. i was supposed to be free in the world.
>> i want to change and make my mother proud.
>> they may be young but these teens are writing about their grown-up struggles in poetry and pros.
>> another eye for an eye makes the eye go blind.
>> this innovative california program allows hundreds of juveniles, some facing decades in prison to find their voice.
>> to a lot of the public these kids are disposable. they're voiceless, they're forgotten.
>> reporter: scott budnick is known for his work producing the popular "hangover" movies. he also volunteers at a juvenile hall in los angeles . he met profit walker, then a teenager, sentenced for six years for assault.
>> the more i began to read about malcolm x and mahatma gandhi , all these great figures, i was like, wow, i can do something better.
>> reporter: when he left the juvenile center and went to prison it was different.
>> there's water fountains for races.
>> i saw them here as young kids, 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.
>> reporter: that's when budnick and walker had an idea. a college program for young offenders in adult prisons. it rewards inmates who behave well and want to learn. letting them study together and live together. like this one at drc norco, now the program is spreading to prisons across the state. for student inmates, it gives them hope.
>> do you remember the moment when you believed that you could have a different future?
>> that first report card and having all a's, i was like, okay, i can do this. i can do this.
>> profit walker is now out of prison, earning his engineering degree at loyola mary mount university. he says the college program changed him.
>> it's when you begin to believe in yourself and accept the power that you have, how great you could be.
>> i've given myself time, space and attention to grow.
>> those young dreams cannot be contained.
>> it gets me out of -- these walls around me. i have my own freedom when i write.
>> profit walker was the first college graduate of the program. 75 have graduated with hundreds more enrolled. the return rate to the prisons is 3%. the state average is 0.
>> every bit helps somebody. thank you for highlighting this program. chelsea clinton here with us again tonight.