Program Website: N/A
Contacts: Vassar Associate Dean of the Faculty and Associate Professor of English, Eve Dunbar (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Inside-Out Program at Taconic is coordinated through Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison
Program Description: Professors Eileen Leonard (Sociology), Molly Shanley (Political Science), Eve Dunbar (English) and Nancy Pokrywka (Biology) have offered team-taught courses in Sociology; Political Science; American Studies; Women’s Studies; and Science, Technology and Society at Taconic Correctional Facility, a medium-security women’s prison, since academic year 2008-09. The courses enroll 10 Vassar students and 12 Taconic students. Vassar students have shown high interest in the course: for every 10 students accepted to enroll, 20 are turned away.
The idea for the course began when Shanley and Leonard investigated existing educational programs in correctional facilities in New York State after they had taken the training program for Temple University’s “Inside-Out” program in Philadelphia. Temple’s program trains faculty to offer college courses, enrolling students from both inside and outside prison.
Degrees Offered: All students receive course credit; incarcerated students are not enrolled in a degree-granting program
Programs Offered: Courses offered so far have been “Gender, Social Problems, and Social Change in the Contemporary United States,” “Gender, Social Problems, and Political Movements,” “Family, Law, and Social Policy,” and “Reproduction, Families, and Social Policy.” The courses offered will vary depending on the professors teaching and their academic departments. The courses offered take an interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter, and generate lively classroom discussion. Students are required to give oral presentations and to write weekly response papers, as well as participate in large and small group discussions, techniques that proved to be highly effective in engaging students and fostering interaction.
Unique Features: The courses are offered to a mixed classroom of traditional college students and incarcerated women and grant Vassar course credit to all members of the class.
Headquarters: Poughkeepsie, NY
Correctional Facilities Served: Taconic Correctional Facility for Women
Population Served: Incarcerated women and Vassar students
Number of Students: 12 incarcerated students and 10 Vassar students per year
Graduates to Date: N/A
Year Founded: 2009
Founders: Professors Eileen Leonard and Molly Shanley, in conjunction with Vassar College and Hudson Link. Program modeled on Inside-Out founded by Lori Pompa.
College/University/Organization Partnerships: Vassar College
Funding: No state funds are used for the program at Taconic; federal funds are used for Vassar students who meet grant eligibility requirements. Vassar waived tuition for the Taconic students and granted credit to all students who completed the course successfully.