Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program National Instructor Training Institute

Posted by on February 3, 2006

Dear Colleague,

We would like to tell you about The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and our upcoming 2006 National Instructor Training Institutes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Exploring Issues of Crime & Justice Behind the Walls

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program was established to create a dynamic partnership between institutions of higher learning and correctional systems, in order to deepen the conversation about and transform our approaches to issues of crime and justice.

Inside-Out brings college students ? particularly those pursuing careers in criminal justice and related fields ? together with incarcerated men and women to study as peers in a seminar behind prison walls. This semester-long course provides a life-altering experience that allows students to contextualize and rethink what they have learned in the classroom, gaining insights that will help them to better pursue the work of creating a more effective, humane and restorative criminal justice system.

At the same time, Inside-Out challenges men and women on the inside to place their life experiences in a larger social context, rekindles their intellectual self-confidence and interest in further education, and encourages them to recognize their capacity as agents of change ? in their own lives as well as in the broader community.

Inside-Out was piloted in 1997 with the support of the Philadelphia Prison System and Temple University. Eight years later, more than 1,000 ?inside? and ?outside? students have participated in the program. Supported by a year-long Soros Justice Senior Fellowship, we began the process of taking Inside-Out nationwide in 2003-2004.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Most college courses are lectures and readings which, later on, we are supposed to apply to real-life situations. This class was a real-life situation itself. The readings gave all of us facts, statistics, and the opinions of ‘the experts,’ but…the students in the class gave it life – we taught each other more than can be read in a book.”
(Temple participant)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Inside-Out is an opportunity for college students to go behind the walls to reconsider what they have come to know about crime and justice. At the same time, it is also an opportunity for those inside prison to place their life experiences in a larger framework. Inside-Out is a new way of seeing the world ? a lens that brings into focus realities distorted by stereotypes and myths. Participants not only learn to look at particular issues from new perspectives; they learn to see themselves as actors, in relation to these issues ? as potential agents of change.

Inside-Out equips participants with both the knowledge and the understanding to address criminal justice and social justice issues through action. The program rests on the belief that individuals, who learn to see beyond the simplistic assumptions that dominate public opinion on crime and incarceration, will in time, bit by bit, transform public thought.

The core of the Inside-Out Program is a 15-week academic course, meeting once a week, through which 15-18 ?outside? (i.e., undergraduate) students and the same number of ?inside? (i.e., incarcerated) students attend class together inside prison. All participants read a variety of criminal justice texts and write several papers; during class sessions, students discuss issues in small and large groups; and, in the final month of the class, students work together on a class project.

Crucial to the Inside-Out pedagogy is the powerful exchange that occurs between “inside” and “outside” students. It is the reciprocity and authenticity of this exchange that makes Inside-Out unique. The result is a dynamic and constructive dialogue that inspires participants to generate new ideas and fresh solutions ? all focused on changing both individual lives and the attitude of public opinion.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Take part in an upcoming National Training Institute and bring the Inside-Out experience to your college or university.

The Institute is a comprehensive 7-day, 60-hour intensive training program that covers everything necessary to develop a course in the Inside-Out model: curriculum development, setting parameters, institutional relationships, group dynamics, interactive pedagogical approaches, and much more. It is an opportunity to learn this transformative educational method through observation, hands-on experience, dialogue, and engagement with a working group inside Graterford Prison. Training will be followed by consultation to assist in on-site program development.

We have held four week-long Inside-Out National Instructor Training Institutes since July 2004. As a result, there are now 56 instructors from 44 colleges/universities in 18 states who have participated in the trainings. A few have already held their first classes, and we expect there to be approximately 20 Inside-Out classes conducted this coming Spring semester.

The training is a very intensive, hands-on experience, including multiple visits to the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, a maximum security facility an hour away from Temple. At Graterford, we work with a group of men with whom some of us have been meeting weekly for the past three years. Our meetings inside the prison provide a depth and richness to the experience that would be very difficult to replicate otherwise.

We have a growing national network of instructors who are taking this pedagogy forward in their own areas ? in terms of both geography and discipline. It is very exciting to see this take shape, and we are anxious to continue expanding more widely. We have determined dates for our next three Training Institutes, all of which will be held from Monday afternoon until Sunday late afternoon, when we will end with a closing dinner. We utilize conference centers in the greater Philadelphia area.

The dates are:
May 22-28, 2006 (ending during Memorial Day wknd.): conducted at Temenos Conference Center
July 31-Aug. 6, 2006: conducted at Temenos Conference Center

If you are interested in any of these trainings, please be in touch with us via e-mail. Our address is Feel free to share it with anyone you think may be interested.

Finally, there was an article a few months back about Inside-Out in one of our Philly newspapers that you can access online — it will give you a good sense of the program. You can go to — click on Cover Stories — scroll down to “click to browse for more cover stories” — go to 2004 and look for Sept. 30th. The name of the article is “Turning Lives Inside-Out.”

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Take care.

Lori Pompa
The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program
Temple University
Soros Justice Senior Fellow 2003
215 204 5163

More in "Other Local Events and Workshops"

Stay Current in Philly's Higher Education and Nonprofit Sector

We compile a weekly email with local events, resources, national conferences, calls for proposals, grant, volunteer and job opportunities in the higher education and nonprofit sectors.