- Inside-Out courses bring together campus-based students (“outside students”) and incarcerated students (“inside students”).
- Since Inside-Out began in 1997, more than 60,000 students, from both sides of prison walls, have taken Inside-Out courses worldwide.
- More than 150 universities and colleges have sponsored courses and over 200 prisons and jails have hosted them.
- Inside-Out courses are offered in many disciplines, including:
- African American Studies, Anthropology, Communications, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, English, Gender Studies, History, Law, Math/Statistics, Natural Sciences, Nursing, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Health, Religious Studies, Social Work, Sociology, Theater, Visual Arts, and Women’s Studies.
A Unique Learning Experience
- Emphasis on dialogue across difference
- Students sit in a circle facing one another
- All students have an equal voice in the classroom
- Distraction-free learning – prisons prohibit smartphones and technology
- Projects are done collaboratively
- Students are challenged to think critically about social injustice and find creative ways to respond
- In order to enroll in an Inside-Out course, you will need to get permission from the instructor, who may want to conduct an interview.
- Inside-Out courses typically meet no more than once a week for a full semester.
- Inside-Out courses are held inside prisons or jails, so extra time is required for processing through security. Also, additional time will be required for commuting to and from the correctional facility.
In order to ensure the safety of everyone, it is essential that all participants carefully follow rules and policies established by the correctional facility and the instructor. For example:
- There may be various forms required by facilities prior to entrance, such as clearance forms. (Note: having a criminal record does not automatically preclude outside students from participation.)
- Prisons / Jails typically have strict rules for attire and prohibit the use of technology (i.e., mobile phones, laptops, etc.).
- Both inside and outside students are on a first-name basis only.
- Communication between inside and outside students is not permitted outside of the Inside-Out classroom. No further contact is permitted after the course is completed.
How can I participate in an Inside-Out course?
You can view our list of higher education facilities to see if your college or university has offered Inside-Out courses. If so, when registering for classes, you can reach out to an academic adviser within your college or university to find out if Inside-Out courses are currently offered. If your institution does not currently offer any classes, you can encourage your professors to enroll in one of the Inside-Out Instructor Training Institutes.
An image created by the students of an Inside-Out class offered at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia that included formerly incarcerated students and campus-based students. The class, conducted on Zoom in Spring 2021 by Ann Green, was called “Race, Class, and Gender.”