The impact and successes of Inside-Out have increased greatly as course offerings expand across the country. We are expanding the program in order to increase options for higher education in prisons and jails across the country and to expose students to a form of education that encourages new perspectives and engaged problem-solving on some of the largest issues facing our society.
Expansion of the Inside-Out Program involves outreach to new instructors across the country, as well as establishing contacts with city, county, state, and federal corrections facilities. Because Inside-Out benefits both academic and correctional institutions, open communication and transparency in setting up and conducting classes is of utmost importance. Inside-Out Center staff members strategize with members of the National Steering Committee to identify new academic and correctional institutions that may be interested in hosting Inside-Out courses. The Steering Committee is connected to nearly a dozen regional hubs, covering the entire United States. Program expansion is becoming that much more organized and effective as these hubs become established, as many instructors and correctional officials hear about Inside-Out by word-of-mouth and through personal contacts in their geographic areas. As local networks of Inside-Out instructors and students grow, the benefits and impacts of the program will become more widespread and take on an ever-stronger national scope.
Expanding the program has opened up exciting and creative new curricular possibilities, as well. Instructors who have attended the Inside-Out Instructor Training Institute represent a number of disciplines, including community arts, mathematics, humanities, theater, political science, sociology, criminal justice, history, anthropology, and nursing. A growing body of curricular materials is being archived at the Inside-Out Center so that new approaches and angles for teaching are available to the national network of instructors. One effect of bringing instructors with wide interests to the national trainings has been to increase interdisciplinary approaches to community-based education, while encouraging exploratory approaches to applied learning.
As the program expands locally, nationally, and even internationally, the National Steering Committee is holding ongoing discussions about the possibilities, implications, and impact of Inside-Out’s programmatic growth. With the increasing diversity of instructors and students, Inside-Out is engaged in an ongoing exploration of how to grow and expand as an organization.
THE INSIDE-OUT CENTER