Dr. Marianne Fisher-Giorlando, a criminal justice professor at Grambling State University, has received the Governor’s Award of Excellence in honor of the more than 20 years she has dedicated to rehabilitation work involving Louisiana inmates.Fisher-Giorlando received the award at the David Wade Correctional Facility in Homer. Giorlando has been involved in a number of prison rehabilitation activities, including inmate self-help organizations such as the Lifers, Jaycees and Vietnam Vets.
She has also helped inmates obtain speakers for banquets, meetings and special events such as Black History month and Memorial Day. Giorlando has brought prisoner speakers’ groups to speak to students on campus and has taken students for prison visits as well.
“I’ve always thought universities should be connected to the practical organizations that go along with our discipline, not just to do research, but to stay aware of the fact that people in prison are not simply criminals,” she said. “They are our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters.”
As a criminologist, Giorlando said her whole livelihood is dependent on men and women who are locked up, and all the people that live and work in the prisons.
“When writing my dissertation I realized I would not have finished or received my Ph.D without the help and interviews from the prisoners, so I feel I have a responsibility to give back in some way,” she said.