Rarely will you find someone who wants to go to prison, but Jessica Beyer does it as her job and loves every second of it. Formerly incarcerated herself, Beyer was once a part of the program she now runs — Indiana Peer Education Program (InPEP). But this program means more than just coming full circle for Beyer.
InPEP started in 2019 to work with inmates to promote health advocacy and teach health education. Now with nine prisons in the program, Beyer rotates around each one helping teach and empower people to make a difference in themselves and those around them.
“I’m in this job for a reason,” Beyer said. “To be able to give people purpose. Knowing I was once in their position and being able to show others that it’s possible to change and that you can affect others lives as well.”
In a group conversation circle during one of her prison visits, Ryan Griffith described Beyer as “a breath of fresh air. The relatability of having you be here, knowing you were once in our position, helps us.”
While being in prison was a traumatic time for Beyer, she looks forward to when she can go back and visit her peers.
“Those are my people. Those are my homies. Those are my friends,” Beyer said. “When I’m in a facility, that is my place to be myself, like who I’m supposed to be.”