May 16, 2017
The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University (ASU) will receive funding from the ASU's Women and Philanthropy program to support its Inside-Out course offerings at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence, Arizona.
According to Inside-Out instructor Kevin Wright, "The award is highly competitive and the Inside-Out program was chosen from among seventy submissions." During the selection committee's site visit, the deputy warden of the prison "spoke eloquently and convincingly on behalf of the Arizona Department of Corrections." Students and another instructor, Cody Telep, also offered their support of the program. In the words of one student, "In my three years of college, I've never seen a class of 22 people so passionate about how we can make our criminal justice system better."
Although Inside-Out courses typically require little to no funding due to in kind contributions from correctional and higher education facilities, the ASU money, $70,000 in total, will be used for sending a graduate student to one of the Inside-Out Instructor Training Institutes, compensating the graduate student as a course co-facilitator, providing weekly transportation for ASU students to travel to the prison, and offering $5000 to each class to develop a group project.
In the past, the Inside-Out students have developed projects that have been implemented by the Arizona Department of Corrections, including a re-entry packet of resources to prepare ex-prisoners to successfully reintegrate into society, a family reunification program to assist families impacted by incarceration, and a victim intervention class that educates inmates on the effects of crime on victims. The ASU award will also be used to support program evaluation in order to better determine the impact the courses have on students.
The Inside-Out courses taught through ASU are semester-long and meet once per week inside a prison located approximately 65 miles southeast of Phoenix. The class combines ASU students (outside students) with an equal number of incarcerated men (inside students) at the Arizona State Prison Complex. Both ASU and incarcerated students have the same syllabus and academic requirements, and students learn about crime and justice together through collaboration and dialogue. ASU offered its first Inside-Out course during the spring semester of 2016. The award will support courses offered during the 2017-2018 school year.
The ASU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice has a dedicated web page used to recruit new students. The page includes a helpful video, which introduces students to the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and explains the logistics of participating in an Inside-Out course.
In 2016, Professor Wright helped to establish the Arizona Transformation Project, an Inside-Out think tank made up of ASU course facilitators and incarcerated students at the Arizona State Prison Complex. The think tank's mission is "to produce and maintain high-quality learning opportunities that will make our communities and correctional facilities more just and socially aware—through collaboration, dialogue, and transformative experiences."