Aaron Kinzel ’10 Uses Education to Be on the Right Side of the Criminal Justice System
If Aaron Kinzel ’10 was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, it was probably stolen.
At age 5, he was taught to pick locks and steal. Continually surrounded by bad people and bad influences at home, the angry, pot-smoking 15-year-old shoved a teacher at a basketball game one night, and then tangled with police who tried to arrest him. That landed him in the juvenile detention center. From there, he moved on to drugs and guns.
The tipping point for Kinzel came at age 18, when his violent confrontation with police led to a five-felony conviction. He served nearly 10 years in federal prison, but spent some of that time learning. He learned about the legal system. He learned about the cultural stigmas of being a convicted felon. And he learned that he didn’t have to be angry any more.
Turning to education, one prison correspondence class sparked an amazing educational journey that continues to unfold. Now a Siena Heights University graduate on his way to a doctorate, Kinzel is teaching others about the criminal justice system—from his own unique perspective.