Program Website: http://www.insideoutcenter.org/
Suite 331, MB 66-10
1810 Liacouras Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: 215-204-5163 | Fax: 215-204-3872
Program Description: Headquartered at Temple University, The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program® is a national program that offers semester-long, college classes behind bars to groups of students of whom half are incarcerated and half are college students from outside. These seminars are offered in many academic disciplines, but they always emphasize collaboration, critical thinking, and dialogue, with course themes usually focusing on the study of some aspect of our society’s approach to crime and punishment. Begun in 1997 as a single class in a Philadelphia county jail, Inside-Out initiated a process of national replication in 2004. Every year at least three week-long intensive instructor training institutes prepare faculty from around the country and abroad to build effective correctional-academic partnerships in their home region, to find means to offer credit to inside students wherever possible, and to facilitate Inside-Out courses in their own disciplines, using a pedagogy based on dialogue among equals. To date, 310 instructors from 37 states and abroad have taken the Inside-Out training, and more than 300 Inside-Out classes have been offered in 25 states across the country so far, involving 9,000+ inside and outside students. The first Canadian Inside-Out courses will be offered in Fall 2011. Participating schools range from community colleges to state universities to liberal arts colleges. Equally wide-ranging are the sorts of correctional facilities where classes have been conducted, from day reporting centers to juvenile detention facilities to county jails to maximum security state prisons, both men’s and women’s facilities. Current initiatives include work with regions to develop inter-university/college collaborative options for degree attainment for both incarcerated and recently released students and a burgeoning alumni association.
Degrees Offered: Many participating institutions offer credit to incarcerated Inside-Out students. Courses have been offered so far in more than 20 academic disciplines.
Programs Offered: All participants read a variety of texts and write several papers; during class sessions, students discuss issues in small and large groups. In the final month of the class, students work together on a class project.
Unique Features: Inside-Out offers not only access to education but also its radical re-envisioning: education as a practice among people, the creation of community and collective purpose and the generation of new knowledge. In Inside-Out classes, which are facilitated rather than taught, all participants are invited to take leadership in addressing how crime is conceived, how justice might be enacted, and how violence can be understood and transcended. We believe that, by studying together and putting into play real-world analyses with real-world applicability far beyond the jailhouse classroom, those of us inside and outside prison can catalyze the kind of changes that will make our communities more inclusive, just, peaceful, and socially sustainable.
This work is fundamentally shaped by the perspectives of people in prison. Eight years ago, Inside-Out formed a Think Tank, comprising of “inside” and “outside” students, that has met weekly at the prison ever since to discuss and work on social justice issues. The Think Tank worked from the ground up to shape the pedagogy and the ethical guidelines that have directed Inside-Out’s national replication strategy, begun in 2004. Five other Think Tanks have emerged so far around the country to ensure that Inside-Out collaboration continues after courses end and that the program always reflects the fruits of exchange among people on both sides of the wall.
Headquarters: Philadelphia, PA
Correctional Facilities Served: Prisons and jails in 25+ states
Population Served: In each program branch: 9-18 campus-enrolled undergraduates and 9-18 incarcerated (or sentenced) students (in equal numbers)
Number of Students: 18-30 students/class [“outside” (i.e., undergraduate) students and the same number of “inside” (i.e., incarcerated) students]
Graduates to Date: N/A
Year Founded: 1997
Founders: Lori Pompa
College/University/Organization Partnerships: The Inside-Out Center at Temple University (National Headquarters)
Funding: The After Prison Initiative of the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation), The Brook J. Lenfest Foundation, The Chace Granting Group, The Douty Foundation, The Patrician Kind Family Foundation, The Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative (Bread and Roses Community Fund), The Threshold Foundation (Restorative Justice Funding Circle), An Anonymous Foundation, and private individual donors