Michigan Theory Group

Macomb Correctional Facility in Macomb, MI / University of Michigan

Paul Draus – draus@umich.edu
Becca Pickus – rpickus@umich.edu

The Theory Group at Macomb Correctional Facility in Michigan is one of the earliest established think tanks. In 2014, the Theory Group began teaching classes for the general population at Macomb Correctional. Theory Group members developed courses on restorative justice, Spanish, analytical writing, chess, and financial management. The Theory Group also hosted a workshop on juvenile life without parole sentences and has hosted several weeklong International Inside-Out Instructor Training Institutes. Additionally, the group held a forum on “Teaching Gender in Prisons” as part of the Midwest Regional Hub meeting. At the end of 2014, the Theory Group held a retirement party for its extraordinary founding facilitator, Lora Lempert.


In 2018, the Michigan Theory Group produced a video on their work called "Restorative Results in Michigan Prisons."

Transforming Corrections from the Inside Out

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Flat Line to Vital Signs

It was over. Damn! No signs of life.
No students. No readings.
No exercises.
No assignments. No professor.
Back to hell. A nightmare.
A mere number.
An invitation. Wow!
A new beginning.
New students. New readings.
New assignments.
Professors. Conferences.
Educate. Influence. Change.
Time to be an Agent.
A change agent.

– Eric (Michigan Theory Group)