As valedictorian of his graduating class, 26-year-old Sean Wilson was beaming as he got in line with about 100 other men to receive his college diploma.
But this wasn’t a typical college graduation.
Wilson and his fellow classmates are all convicts, serving time at California’s Ironwood State Prison, and this graduation ceremony was held behind bars with correction officers watching close by.
Many of these inmates were able to get a college degree thanks to an unlikely advocate.
Scott Budnick, a former Hollywood producer best known for “The Hangover” franchise, is now a regular face in around 20 of California’s 34 state prisons, where he works to mentor and rehabilitate inmates who are in prison for everything from armed robbery to murder.
“I am interested in dealing with anybody who wants to change, or doesn’t really know the path to take to get there, or needs the help to get there,” Budnick said.