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Inside-out graphic header image

Scholarship on Inside-Out

Davis, S. W. & Roswell, B. S. (Eds.). (2013).
Turning Teaching Inside Out: A Pedagogy of Transformation for Community-Based Education. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Click here to visit the book page.

Shankman, Steven. (2017).
Turned Inside Out: Reading the Russian Novel in Prison. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.

Allred, Sarah L. (2009).
The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program: The impact of structure, content, and readings. Journal of Correctional Education, 60(3), 240–258. Click here for the full text.

This study examines qualitative and quantitative data from a fifteen-week experiential course held in a county jail. The course was modeled after The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, and included college students and people who were incarcerated at the time. Survey data and comments gleaned from student papers were used to assess the impact of course structure, content, and readings on the understanding of a daily course topic. Both data sources reveal that deep understanding of the course topic was facilitated most by the course structure. The course content and daily readings were rated, respectively, as second and third in overall importance. The elements of the class structure represented one of several effective templates used throughout the course, and affirm the role of a well-structured experiential learning opportunity in educative outcomes situated in correctional facilities.

Allred, Sarah L., Charles Boyd, Thomas Cotton, and Paul Perry (2019).
Participatory Evaluation in a Prison Education Program: Meaning & Community Building within Inside-Out Think Tanks, Corrections, DOI: 10.1080/23774657.2019.1604193
Click here for the full text.

This article presents the processes associated with a participatory evaluation of alumni groups – Think Tanks – affiliated with the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. The participatory evaluation members included people incarcerated (Inside members) and an academic scholar (Outside member). Members were affiliated with Inside-Out and part of their respective Think Tanks. The participatory project yields insights related to having team members who are Inside and Outside people. In several ways, the participatory evaluation members experienced challenges to their working model throughout the project. Data come from nine focus groups convened in eight prisons moderated by the Outside member. The findings describe the personal meanings that Think Tank members attributed to being in the group. The analyses revealed that Think Tank participation represents a significant, positive experience to members. The themes identified to highlight the concepts of individual transformation, relationships, civic engagement, and solace. The perceptions of Think Tank experiences convey substantial individual growth as well as community building within and beyond the group into the general prison population and the outside world.

Allred, Sarah L., Harrison, L. D., & O’Connell, D. J. (2013).
Self-efficacy: An important aspect of prison-based learning. The Prison Journal, 93(2), 211–233. Click here for the full text.

Self-efficacy in academic settings is an established correlate of educational accomplishments with relevance beyond the classroom. It is a socially created propensity to view oneself as capable of responding to a range of life contingencies. We measure shifts in self-efficacy within prison-based courses that are modeled after The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Courses include college students (outside) and people who are incarcerated (inside) learning together in a prison classroom. Inside students report lower levels of self-efficacy at Time 1 and an increase in self-efficacy by Time 2. Outside student levels of self-efficacy remain the same across time.

Arthur, D. S. (2016).
Bridges to a brighter future: University-corrections partnerships as a sustainability issue. In B.D. Wortham-Galvin , J.H. Allen, J. D. B. Sherman (Eds.), University-Community Partnerships, (pp. 75–88). London, UK: Routledge. Click here for the full text.

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book describes the development of academia with the establishment of the land grant institutions. It highlights how projects may move between and include more than one relationship type. The book examines some Capstone courses that partner with correctional facilities and allow university students to engage directly with people experiencing incarceration, thereby contributing to community reintegration and overall community sustainability. It provides a narrative of the process by which important research partnerships develop, and how these relationships yield valuable lessons that inform evolving research methodologies as well as blur the line between "successful" and "failed" research. The book describes an ability to move beyond agreements in principle or formal statements of mutual interest to a more nuanced appreciation of practice and addresses challenges to the viability of potentially fragile inter-institutional relationships.

Arthur, D. S., & Valentine, J. (2018).
In Service Together: University Students and Incarcerated Youth Collaborate for Change. The Prison Journal, 98(4), 427-448 https://doi.org/10.1177/0032885518776377
Click here for the full text.

Belcher, D. C. (2018).
Fresh starts behind bars: Teaching with the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Northwest Journal of Teacher Education, 13(1). Click here for full text.

From the author: "I borrow from Audre Lorde’s introduction to her 1979 essay “Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminist’s Response” to introduce this piece. This article is not a theoretical discussion nor a how-to article. This is the way it was and is with me and my Inside-Out students and I leave the theory to another time and person. This is one woman’s telling (Lorde, 2007). There is plenty being talked and written about the school-to-prison pipeline, about education’s impact on recidivism rates, the debate about Pell Grants for the incarcerated, and related issues. What I hope to contribute is a window in to one teacher’s experience, through which, perhaps, other teachers can see new possibilities."

Bennallick, M., Österman, L., Stengel, C., Zampini, G. (2019).
Turning Gender Inside-Out: Delivering Higher Education in Women’s Carceral Spaces. Journal of Prison Education and Reentry, 6(1).

Bucher, J. (2012).
Old and young dogs teaching each other tricks: The importance of developing agency for community partners in community learning. Teaching Sociology, 40(3), 271–283. Click here for full text.

This article covers the importance of creating and developing agency in community partners when engaging in community-based learning. Often when faculty incorporate service- or community-based learning into their classes, we measure the “learning” part but not the “service” or “community.” Focusing more on the latter involves working “with” community partners instead of working “for” community partners, and this focus creates a more effective experience for all stakeholders involved. Achieving this goal of working “with” partners not only requires collaboration but also requires an effort to create and develop a sense of agency among the community partners. In the current teaching note, collaborative projects between undergraduate sociology classes and a local senior center are discussed. These projects show enhanced learning for the college students as well as an enhanced experience for community partners due to the emphasis on establishing and nurturing agency among community partners.

Butin, D. W. (2007).
Justice-learning: service-learning as justice-oriented education. Equity & Excellence in Education, 40(2), 177–183. doi:10.1080/10665680701246492 Click here for full text.

“Justice-learning” lies at the intersection of service-learning and social justice education. Specifically, I argue for a distinctive form of community-based learning (“antifoundational service-learning”) that fosters a justice-oriented framework (“anti-anti-social justice”) that makes possible the questioning and disruption of unexamined and all too often oppressive binaries of how we view the struggle toward equity in education. The linkage of service-learning and social justice education in this manner offers a “weak overcoming” that strengthens experiential learning toward justice while avoiding the dilution and radicalization faced by both movements. I, thus, trace the linkages between service-learning and social justice education; explicate the potential of antifoundational service-learning as a form of anti-anti-social justice; and draw out the potential and implication of this linkage for both service-learning and social justice education.

Conti, N. (2018).
Intersection of Art and Science in an Era of Mass Incarceration. Stanton Heights, 5(2), 372-393. doi: 10.15367/kf.v5i2.221 Click here for full text.

Conti, N., Frantz, E. (2017).
Infinite space and common ground: the humble wisdom of scholar-allies. In J. R. Chaney & J. Schwartz (Eds.), Race, education, and reintegrating formerly incarcerated citizens: counterstories and counterspaces. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319682512_Infinite_Space_and_Common_Ground_The_Humble_Wisdom_of_Scholar-Allies Click here for full text.

The white authors (associate professors of sociology and history, respectively, at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh), who have participated for a number of years in an Inside-Out think-tank with black men serving life sentences for murder convictions, write that the process of developing functional collaboration between incarcerated and free men and women of different races models reintegration of “prisoners and allies into an egalitarian community” (132), where ex-prisoners need to dismantle the humiliation/stigma of race and incarceration and free-world people need to set aside their hubris, inside and outside members alike becoming humble. In their emphasis on the danger of seeming self-righteousness and need for humility on the part of usually white, female teachers who police an ostensibly egalitarian space where inside members are largely people of color, Conti and Frantz rely heavily on Goffman (1963) and Gaskew (2014), respectively. Since Inside-Out guidelines discourage the sharing of “personal” information, it was interesting to read how in the Elsinore Bennu think-tank, “[b]oth inside and outside members spend time at each meeting sharing information not only about our achievements and pleasures, but about our anxieties, shortcomings and failures. Inside members then can take the role of consoling, encouraging, giving advice, and sharing victories” (137).

Conti, N., Morrison, L., & Pantaleo, K. (2013).
All the Wiser: Dialogic Space, Destigmatization, and Teacher-Activist Recruitment. The Prison Journal, 93(2), 163–188. doi:10.1177/0032885512472654 Click here for full text.

This article examines instructor training for The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, an organization that brings “outside” college students into prison, joining incarcerated men and women who become “inside students” for an undergraduate course. Ethnographic data revealed a purposeful stigma reversal for a group of men serving life sentences and a concomitant shift in moral career for instructor trainees. Through structured encounters with these men, trainees come to see, speak, and behave in ways that subvert conventional understandings of the stigma imposed on those in prison. The alteration of self and perspective experienced during the training drives participants to incorporate this activist ethos into their own teaching.

Davis, S. W. (2011).
Inside-Out: the reaches and limits of a prison program. In J. M. Lawston & A. E. Lucas (Eds.), Razor Wire Women: Prisoners, Activists, Scholars, and Artists, (pp. 203–224). Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Visit the publisher's website HERE.

Davis used the model of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to develop a course in English and creative writing, bringing together incarcerated and recently released women with female students in Western Massachusetts's Five College System. This chapter describes the class Davis taught and questions the idea that when women reveal themselves through writing, their story must necessarily follow the conventions of either the confession or recovery narrative. Even when the writing is therapuetic, when women sit in a circle and write, these tales of the individual are not all that is told. The practice of writing itself tells a story about community building and social change.

Draus, P. J., & Lempert, L. B. (2013).
Growing pains: developing collective efficacy in the detroit theory group. The Prison Journal, 93(2), 139–162. doi: 10.1177/003288551247264 Click here for full text.

We describe the process of developing a “Think Tank,” which is a discussion and outreach group for individuals who successfully completed The Inside-Out Prison Exchange classes offered at a Level 2 correctional facility in Detroit, Michigan in 2008. We employ the concept of “collective efficacy” and members’ own accounts of their experiences to describe the Theory Group’s evolution: (a) formation and initial growth, (b) public outreach, and (c) workshops, trainings, and future activities. We document the complicated dynamics of working with prison officials and make suggestions for those seeking to continue the Inside-Out dynamic beyond the classroom.

Duran, J. I J. (2018).
Duran, J. I J. (2018). Empowered or disempowered? The effects of the Inside-Out prison exchange program in Mexico. Dialogos sobre Educacion, 9(16), 1-18. doi: 10.32870/dse.v0i16.396 Full Text – English, Full Text – Español

This text opens with a critical analysis of the main problems facing Mexico’s penitentiary system. Next it considers educational opportunities for incarcerated people in Mexico to focus on the specific case experienced by the authors of this article through the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program in the Reclusorio Metropolitano in Puente Grande, Jalisco during the first semester of 2017. The text ends with reflections regarding the possible reach of Inside-Out in Mexico and the general importance of education to reduce the high rates of recidivism and the context of delinquency that favors crime.

Galardi, T. (2009).
Learning from the Inside-Out. Contexts, 8(4), 82–83. doi: 10.1525/ctx.2009.8.4.82 Click here for full text.

“The criminal no longer seems a totally unsociable being, a sort of parasitic element, a strange and unassimilable body,” Emile Durkheim wrote. And after nearly 10 hours with my Inside classmates, I've come to learn that he's right.

Hardin, Jo, Karl Haushalter, and Darryl Yong (2020).
Turning STEM Education Inside-Out: Teaching and Learning Inside Prisons. Science Education and Civic Engagement: An International Journal, 82-88. Click here for full text.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is an international network of teachers and learners who work to break down walls of division by facilitating dialogue across social differences. In this model, first developed by Lori Pompa at Temple University, campus-based college students (outside students) join incarcerated students (inside students) for a college course that is taught inside a correctional facility. Compared to other disciplines, STEM courses are underrepresented in the Inside-Out program. Here we discuss the unique opportunities of teaching a STEM course inside prison using the Inside-Out approach and how it differs from other models of STEM teaching in prison. Our analysis is based on the experience of three instructors from two liberal arts colleges, who taught Inside-Out courses in statistics, number theory, and biochemistry inside a medium-security state prison for men.

Haverkate, Danielle L., Travis J. Meyers, Cody W. Telep & Kevin A. Wright (2019).
On PAR with the yard: participatory action research to advance knowledge in corrections. Corrections, 1-16. doi: 10.1080/23774657.2019.1576149
Click here for full text.

Participatory action research (PAR) focuses on conducting research with people, instead of on people. While this collaborative approach has been used across a range of disciplines, criminology has been slow to adopt the tenets of PAR. The current article seeks to reinvigorate the discussion of PAR as a research methodology within corrections. We highlight the success of our own project, where five incarcerated interviewers conducted over 400 interviews within the Arizona Department of Corrections. We describe the project—how we set it up, our perceived benefits, and our challenges—and we conclude with some thoughts on how PAR can be expanded in corrections specifically and in criminal justice in general. Our broader purpose is to highlight an innovative methodology to ensure conversations advance research that is translated into meaningful action.

Hilinski-Rosick, C. M., & Blackmer, A. N. (2014).
An exploratory examination of the impact of the inside-out prison exchange program. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 25(3), 386–397. doi 10.1080/10511253.2014.922593 Click here for full text.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the feelings and reactions of university students enrolled in The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Inside-Out is a nationally recognized program that has provided the framework for college courses to take place inside the walls of prisons and jails. Both college and university students and residents of correctional facilities take a college-level course, together, inside a correctional facility. Throughout the semester, students are required to write reflection papers that detail their observations, analyses, and reactions to the class sessions. The current research analyzed these papers to explore how the course was impacting students. Findings indicate that students had a wide range of reactions to the course, and often found themselves questioning their beliefs, punishment philosophies, and thoughts on the criminal justice system as a whole and the corrections system specifically.

Hyatt, S.B. (2009).
Creating social change by teaching behind bars: the inside-out prison exchange program. Anthropology News, 50(1), 24–28. doi 10.1111/j.1556-3502.2009.50124.x Click here for full text.

Inderbitzin, M. (2015).
Active learning and college and prison partnerships in liberal education. Liberal Education, 101(3), 46–51. Click here for full text.

Jiménez Durán, J.I. & Strickland, R.D. (2018).
“¿Empoderamiento o desempoderamiento? Los efectos del Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program en México” Diálogos sobre Educación. 16(9), 1-20.

Kubiak, S. P. & Milanovic, E. (2017).
Prison as a site for experiential learning in social work: inside-out prison exchange program. Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 22(1), 143–158.

Lanterman, J. (2018).
Transformative and social justice dimensions of a jail-based college course. Dialogues in Social Justice, 3(1), 46-65. Click here for full text.

Research consistently demonstrates the benefits associated with the provision of education in prisons and jails. These examinations typically focus on prison-based education, enhanced employability, and recidivism reduction. There is considerably less attention afforded to jail-based education and other benefits associated with correctional education opportunities. This single-case study focuses on a college-level criminal justice course taught using the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Model at the Washoe County (Nevada) Detention Facility in the spring 2016 semester. A thematic content analysis of data collected through direct observations, student papers, and course evaluations identified changes to subject matter knowledge, individual changes, changes in perceptions of others, and changes to the class dynamics over time. The results highlight the transformative effects of a single college-level course taught in a jail that directly and indirectly contribute to the pursuit of social justice.

Leon, Chrysanthi S. and Perez, Graciela (2018–2019).
Leon, Chrysanthi S. and Graciela Perez. (2018-2019) "Reading “Women Don’t Riot” After the Riot: Creating a University-Prison Collaboration" in Journal of Prison Education and Reentry, Vol. 5(2), 144-156. doi.org/10.25771/ba6d-gk04
Click here for full text.

We examine a case study of a collaboration between a University and a Women’s Correctional Institution: an Inside Out college course that brings together incarcerated and traditional students. We analyze the creation of a class in the aftermath of a riot in the region and in the ongoing context of internal and external reforms. We provide specific examples of mistakes, lessons learned, and the impact of our pedagogical values and techniques, and provide links to our class materials. We emphasize communication between the institutions, from the students to instructors, among the instructors, and from instructors to students. In the classroom, we exploit our expertise and our non-expertise as learners together to break down perceived barriers. We also emphasize the value of self-care and recognition of all students as agentic. We conclude with a call for future research that attends to student agency and that examines who benefits from prison-university partnerships.

Link, T. C. (2016).
Breaking down barriers: review of the implementation of an inside/out prison exchange program in a jail setting, part 1. Journal of Prison Education and Reentry, 3(1), 50–55. doi: 10.15845/jper.v3i1.923 Click here for full text.

The traditional criminal justice curriculum typically covers the three c’s – cops, courts, and corrections. In addition, students can usually choose from a variety of discipline-related special topics courses to satisfy the requirements of their major or minor in criminal justice. However, what is missing from most curricula for future criminal justice professionals is face-to-face interaction with the very individuals they will spend a good part of their careers with – those who have been accused of or sentenced for law-breaking behaviors. The current paper describes the planning and implementation of an Inside Out Prison Exchange Course in a jail setting and offers an analysis of students’ course evaluation to discuss the benefits of this educational experience. The results are intended to highlight the importance and benefit of non-traditional educational experiences for better criminal justice professionals and creating opportunities for viable reentry.

Maclaren, K. (2015).
The magic happens inside out: a reflection on the transformative power of self-expression and dialogical inquiry in inside-out prison exchange courses. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 22(4), 371–385. doi 10.1080/10749039.2015.1075045 Click here for full text.

Marietta Martinovic, Marg Liddell & Shane Douglas Muldoon (2018).
Changing views and perceptions: the impact of the Australian Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program on students, Educational Research and Evaluation. 1-17. doi 10.1080/13803611.2018.1543051 Click here for full text.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program has been delivered at 2 prisons in Victoria, Australia, Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and Marngoneet Correctional Centre, since 2015. Selected university (outside) students and prisoners (inside) engage in a collaborative learning environment, studying Comparative Criminal Justice Systems. Students critique complex criminal justice material and undertake university standard assessments. The programme was evaluated through pre-test and post-test surveys and focus groups. This paper outlines this evaluation, including the similarities and differences between inside and outside students’ experience, their knowledge of the criminal justice system, the stereotypes and the values, and challenges of the Inside-Out programme. Student views of the criminal justice system and each other were challenged and changed, often in unexpected ways. The knowledge from this evaluation will contribute to the improvement of Inside-Out processes and outcomes, nationally and internationally.

Mayes, L., Owens, T., Falvai, J., and Du Temple, T. (2018).
Turning correctional education Inside-Out: Experiences and lessons from a university partnership. Advancing Corrections: Journal of the International Corrections and Prisons Association. 6, 55-69.

Nanaimo Correctional Centre (NCC) and Vancouver Island University (VIU) have been delivering an innovative educational program to students by holding a criminology class called ‘Inside-Out’ inside NCC. This manuscript details the experiences and lessons that have come from offering this course over the past three years while highlighting the impact on correctional staff, incarcerated students, and university students who are likely to join the criminal justice field. Along with the positive impact of the program, we discuss implementation challenges and provide insights into forming educational partnerships for correctional agencies that may be looking to adopt more innovative educational programming.

Metzger, E., & Glazier, S. (2017).
Environmental justice: chemistry in context for prison inmates and non-majors. Liberal Arts Strategies for the Chemistry Classroom, 1266, 167-183. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society. doi: 10.1021/bk-2017-1266.ch010

Mishne, Laura (“Lo”), Erica (“Erica”) Warner, Brandon (“The B”) Willis, and Robert (“Diesel”) Shomaker (2012).
Breaking Down Barriers: Student Experiences of The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Undergraduate Journal of Service-Learning and Community-Based Research, 1, Penn State Berks. Click here for full text.

This article was written in tandem by "inside" students from the Southeastern Correctional Institution in Ohio and "outside" students from Ohio State University - Newark. They wrote about their experiences during an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program class.

Nurse, A.M. (2013).
Juveniles and college: inside out as a way forward. The Prison Journal, 93(2), 234–247. doi: 10.1177/0032885512473051 Click here for full text.

In this article the author argues that the Inside-Out model is ideally suited to help incarcerated juveniles considering enrolling in college post-release. The transition to college can be extremely difficult for such youth who may lack the cultural capital needed to succeed in higher education. This is unfortunate as research suggests that college can have a range of positive effects, including reduced criminality and increased earnings. With some adaptations to its curriculum, Inside-Out classes can provide students with much of what they need to succeed. Best practices are described at the end of the article. 

Payne, Y. M., & Bryant, A. (2018).
Street participatory action research (street par) in prison: a methodology to challenge privilege and power in correctional facilities. Prison Journal, 98 (4), 449-469. doi 10.1177/0032885518776378 Click here for full text.

This article presents a prison research model grounded in street participatory action research (Street PAR) methodology but programmatically facilitated in an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program class. Street PAR’s nine tenets were adapted to a prison setting, and we demonstrate its promise with a brief case study of research projects at one prison location. This article also explores the challenges scholars and incarcerated persons as researchers may face in correctional facilities. Street PAR and Inside-Out can improve prison environments and successful transition to local communities as a function of equipping incarcerated persons with reading, writing, and analytic skill sets.

Pfeffer, R., & Wright, K. A. Kevin A. (2019).
The inside-out prison exchange program. In american prisons and jails: an encyclopedia of controversies and trends, edited by Vidisha B. Worley and Robert M. Worley.

Pompa, L. (2002).
Pompa, L. (2002). Service-Learning as crucible: reflections on immersion, context, power, and transformation. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 9(1), 67–76. Click here for full text.

This article explores the transformative potential of service-learning through the lens of a particular context: a course held inside a prison. This service-learning example provides an experience of total immersion. Rather than separating the service component from the course, class is held at the actual site with a group of incarcerated classmates. This kind of approach raises many questions, including how service learning is “done,” the fragile nature of power and our approach to it, how context impacts the educational process, as well as the transformative possibilities of a “liberatory” pedagogy. Interspersed throughout the article, participants’ voices illustrate the conceptual claims and reflect the collaborative nature of the venture. Though specific course elements are discussed in some detail, they are meant to suggest larger themes applicable to service-learning in general.

Pompa, L. (2004).
Disturbing where we are comfortable: notes from behind the walls. Reflections, 4(1), 24–34. Click here for full text.

Pompa, L. (2013).
One brick at a time: the power and possibility of dialogue across the prison wall. The Prison Journal, 93(2), 127–134. doi 10.1177/0032885512472479 Click here for full text.

Ryder, J., & Carroll, J. (2018).
Cultural immersion and social justice: the inside-out prison exchange program at st. john’s university. Journal of Vincentian Social Action, 3(1), 35–45. doi 10.24073/jovsa/03/01/04.1 Click here for full text.

Shankman, S. (2017).
Conceptualizing intercultural understanding within international contexts. Mansouri, F. (Ed.), Intercultralism at the Crossroads: Comparative Perspectives on Concepts, Policies, and Practices. 47-64. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Click here for full text.

Shay, G. (2012).
Inside-Out as law school pedagogy. Journal of Legal Education, 62(2), 207–217. Click here for full text.

Shay presents an argument for Inside-Out to be used, with a slightly modified curriculum, to enrich law school education.

Shomaker, R., Willis, B., & Bryant, A. (2014).
We are the products of our experiences: The Role Higher Education Plays in Prison. Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, 23(1), 31–55.

Steil, J., & Mehta, A. (2017).
When Prison Is the Classroom: Collaborative Learning about Urban Inequality. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 1–10. doi 10.1177/0739456X17734048 Click here for full text.

This article analyzes the pedagogy of an urban sociology course taught in prison, with both outside and imprisoned students. The course examined the production of knowledge used in the field of planning and sought to facilitate the coproduction of new insights about urban inequality. Participant observation, focus groups, and students’ written reflections reveal that, in comparison to traditional classroom settings, students explored with greater complexity their embodiment of multiple social identities, wrestled more deeply with the structural embeddedness of individual agency, and situated their personal experiences in a broader theoretical narrative about urban inequality. Building trust in the face of significant power disparities within the classroom was essential to learning. The findings highlight the importance of new locations of learning that enable classrooms to become contact zones, pushing students to collaboratively reimagine justice in the city with those outside the traditional classroom.

Van Gundy, A., Bryant, A., & Starks, B. C. (2013).
Pushing the Envelope for Evolution and Social Change: Critical Challenges for Teaching Inside-Out. The Prison Journal, 93(2), 189–210. doi 10.1177/0032885512472691 Click here for full text.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program (Inside-Out) is a program that offers college courses taught in a blended classroom within correctional settings, resulting in multiple challenges for instructors. This article focuses on three major challenges that should be considered by Inside-Out instructors: addressing legal challenges for the instructor, students, university, and prison site; creating and sustaining diversity in a blended classroom; and balancing the rules of the Inside-Out program and the institution. Utilizing a post hoc observation-as-participant framework, we present our experiences of teaching Inside-Out courses to demonstrate these distinct challenges and provide recommendations for current and future Inside-Out faculty, as well as the national program.

Van Horne, S. L. (2015).
Reflections from the Outside In: Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program acting graduation. Contemporary Justice Review, 18(2), 248–249. doi 10.1080/10282580.2015.1016427 Click here for full text.

Werts, T. (2013).
Reflections on The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. The Prison Journal, 93(2), 135-138. doi 10.1177/0032885512472483 Click here for full text.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program housed at Temple University is an international educational program that brings together outside college and university students and inside incarcerated students in prisons and jails for a semester-long college course. Started in 1997 in the county jail system in Philadelphia, PA, Inside-Out is presently in 38 states and Canada, offering hundreds of courses that span the humanities and social sciences. The class is taught in a circle and emphasizes dialogue, exchange and collaboration. It impacts participating students in ways far beyond education by providing a profound learning experience that is transformational. It invites participants to take leadership in addressing issues of crime, justice, and social concerns.

Wright, Kevin A. (2020).
Time Well Spent: Misery, Meaning, and the Opportunity of Incarceration. The Howard Journal Vol 00 No 0. xxxx 2020 DOI: 10.1111/hojo.12352 ISSN 2059-1098, pp. 1–21. Click here for full text.

Abstract: People often leave prison worse than when they arrived; sometimes, they leave the same. People could leave prison better than when they arrived through a reimagined response to crime. They could be set up to live sustainable, fulfilling, and meaningful lives after prison. This approach could be informed by research on what makes for a meaningful life – regardless of whether a person has come into contact with the criminal justice system. A reimagined corrections could view time spent in prison as an opportunity rather than solely as a punishment; an opportunity to repair harm, empower people, and promote public safety.

Wright, Kevin A., & Jonson, C. L. (2018).
Wright, Kevin A., & Jonson, C. L. (2018). Thinking outside the prison walls: the value of the Inside-Out prison exchange program to solve old problems. Criminology and public policy, (3), edited by Decker, S. H., & Wright, K. A. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Click HERE to visit the press website. 

The “old problems” referenced in the chapter title by the authors, both professors of criminal justice, consist of how to simultaneously accomplish corrections’ apparently incompatible goals of deterrence, incapacitation, retribution and rehabilitation (324) – or more specifically, how to create prison programming that both addresses the needs of incarcerated men and women to acquire internal and external soft skills (critical thinking, problem-solving, emotion management, accepting criticism and resilience; working collaboratively, communicating effectively, negotiating and managing conflict) and mitigates feelings of isolation, serving as a conduit for members of the communities to interact with prisoners. The authors suggest that The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program does just that: builds those internal and external soft skills in a pro-social environment where incarcerated men and women are held accountable yet receive support and encouragement from service-oriented educators, all the while experiencing authentic interactions with community members. In order for the Inside-Out program “to be conceived of as correctional programming” (334), which the authors apparently see as an indisputable goal, they call for documentation of “how well Inside-Out stacks up against current effective interventions” and of the extent to which program completion increases self-control, reduces prison misconduct and/or reduces recidivism. Many people involved with the program, however, will challenge that goal. 

Wright, Kevin A., & Philippon, C. (2018).
Prison outreach/exchange programs. Oxford Bibliographies of Criminology. doi: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0254

Wyant, B. R., & Lockwood, B. (2018).
Wyant, B. R., & Lockwood, B. (2018). Transformative learning, higher order thinking, and the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. The Journal of Correctional Education. 69(3), 49-67. Click here for full text.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is a course held inside a correctional facility that brings together currently incarcerated individuals and university students. Although this program has been implemented widely, questions about its impacts remain. This study examines the transformational nature of the Inside-Out program, as well as the degree to which it emphasizes higher order thinking skills. Utilizing a pretest–posttest, nonequivalent control group design, university students from multiple Inside-Out courses were compared to university students in traditional social science courses. Results from T-tests and multinomial regression models determined that Inside-Out participants experienced statistically significant shifts in perceptions of those who are incarcerated, relative to their peers in other courses. Statistically significant differences were also found on a higher order thinking index, indicating that Inside-Out students felt their course emphasized assessing information and applying concepts to complex circumstances, to a higher degree than did students who took other courses.

Zampini, Giulia, LINNÉA ÖSTERMAN, Camille Stengel, and Morwenna Bennallick.
Turning Gender Inside-Out: Delivering Higher Education in Women’s Carceral Spaces. Journal of Prison Education and Reentry Vol. 6 No. 1, 2019. Click here for full text.

This article is a critical reflection of the role of gender in the delivery of a higher education course based on The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Programme. Related concepts such as hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and intersectionality are discussed within the prison education setting. This reflection primarily draws on critical incidents from the experiences of the first three authors facilitating a higher education course in a women’s prison in England. One major reflection is that learning in a group of “inside” and “outside” students, all self-identified women, who vary along the dimensions of age, class, ethnicity, nationality and sexual expression, presented unique dynamics. This included working with both collectiveness and difference, gender-aligned expectations about behaviour, and experiences of control, criminal justice and higher education. Additionally, all four authors’ experiences of delivering various higher education courses under different prison-education partnership models in both men and women’s prisons allows for comparison and reflection on the institutional reproduction of gender norms. These reflections point to the conclusion that, despite the strong presence of intersectional divisions, gender can become a uniting force when working with an all-women student group, fostering critical thinking and engagement with challenging structural issues. However, further reflection considers that being gender-conscious in the classroom should not be limited to all-women student cohorts, as this is exactly what may enable facilitators to tackle some of the issues produced by hegemonic masculinity in a mixed prison classroom.

Frazier, C. D. (2014).
Through educators’ eyes: a narrative inquiry into teachers utilizing transformative pedagogy as a practice of freedom to build mutual understanding and respect between prisoners and university students. Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA.

Philippon, C. N. (2018).
Sending students to prison: An impact evaluation of the Arizona Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.

Sabadosh, L. M. (2018).
The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program: attitudes towards prisoners as reported by college students. University Honors Program Theses. 332. Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/honors-theses/332

Simmons, S. E. (2013).
“When Social Institutions Collide: The Intersection of Post-Secondary Correctional Education and Civic Engagement in Higher Education Through Creative Arts.” A Master’s Thesis written for The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 2013. Unpublished. To request a copy, click here to contact the author.

Veit-Hetletved, P. (2014).
Program Evaluation for Evidence-Based Practices in Correctional Education. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND.

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“Inside-Out Prison Exchange. The title of this program is loaded with all kinds of meaning. Starting with the obvious, it involves people from the inside of prisons and people from the outside of prisons. The terminology designates everyone as people, people coming from different places and perspectives, certainly, but people nonetheless. No one is labeled as a college kid, a criminal, or anything else. Inside-Out can refer to something else though, as well – the reversal of many of the ideas that many of us students held about each other, the criminal justice system, and even life. The phrase could even be used to describe the emotional journey that some of the students took, grasping a hold of feelings that had been kept inside and tearing them out in the open to share and reflect upon with the rest of us...

“This is also an exchange that takes place in a prison. But what is being exchanged? Roles, kind of. For a few hours every (week), the outside students had to sit in a prison, being watched by guards and cameras. The inside students had the opportunity to do something that frighteningly few people that are incarcerated in our country ever do, participate in a university level course. The most important exchange, however, in my opinion, is the exchange of ideas that takes place. The sustained dialogue in our prison classroom is what taught me so much this semester, and it is that that I will carry with me beyond my academic life.”

(Outside Student)

Turning Teaching Inside-Out book cover

Inside-Out Perceptions

“You come into this setting
but do you really think you know me?
You stop and take a look around
but only what you’re allowed to see.
You bring with you the baggage
of what you think you know
Criminals, do gooders, deviants, gawkers,
guilty, innocent, although...
There is something familiar in that face
across the room I hadn’t anticipated
Guarded, uneasy, anxiety, curiosity
Optimism, hope, Are we related?
Its true that labels were made
and perhaps boxes prepared
but stigmas soon fade
When common ideas, values, and experiences are shared
We don’t all agree
that’s painfully clear
but as we humanize others
we displace the fear.”

(Inside Student)

Turned Inside-Out book cover

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