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Culture & Religion

Sociology Students Go to Prison As a Class Requirement

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program features classes comprised of both incarcerated and non-incarcerated students. It is offered at over 100 universities.

For the past 18 years, the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program has been “a staple of social and criminal justice education at over 100 universities,” writes Krysta Amber Loftis of USA Today. Inside-Out arranges classes held at local prisons featuring both incarcerated and non-incarcerated students. The USA Today article focuses in particular on Social Issues through the Prism of Prison, a course offered by the sociology department at Central Michigan University. 

“’It’s (13) students from the inside and (13) students from the outside,’ [Professor Justin] Smith said, explaining that the incarcerated men are between the ages of 20 and 65. ‘A lot of this is a reaction to making sure we’re improving education in prisons, but also in higher education institutions. It’s a way to offer CMU students a very diverse setting to learn in (and) a way to learn from a variety of experiences, a variety of ages.’”

Classes are held Tuesday nights in the Central Michigan Correctional Facility. Group discussions are held on topics ranging from racism to collective action. It’s a unique concept, but one that offers hope that some prison settings are seen more as rehabilitation centers than permanent societal quarantine centers.

Read more at USA Today.

In the video below, marketing expert Adam Alter explains how a color shade known as Drunk Tank Pink is used to pacify belligerent prisoners:

Photo credit: nobeastsofierce / Shutterstock


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