• 2014–2015 Provost's Initiatives

     "Inside-Out Prison Exchange," Professor Shelly Schaefer, College of Liberal Arts 

    Course Description: 

     The Inside-Out Prison Exchange program is a course that bring together college students and incarcerated men and women to study as peers in a seminar behind prison walls. The mission of the program is to create opportunities for people inside and outside prison to “have a transformative learning experiences that emphasize collaboration and dialogue and that invite them to take leadership in addressing crime, justice, and other issues of social concern” (Inside-Out Center, 2015). Funding from the Provost Initiative supported me to work with the Minnesota Department of Corrections and Hamline University administration to gain the necessary approvals to schedule the first class in fall of 2015. After several meetings with the DOC and contact with the CLA Dean’s office and general counsel at Hamline, I am nearing finalization for the DOC location for the first course to be held fall of 2015. To introduce the program to the Hamline community, I am holding, with the additional support from my CLA Dean’s grant, a “kick off” event on April 6th, 2015. Jason Sole, community leader and Bush fellow, will provide the keynote address, including a Q & A session with a panel of women currently incarcerated at Shakopee who have completed an Inside-Out course. I am excited to start this program at Hamline and my hope is that it expands across the University and other faculty and students from various disciplines become involved in the program. I have applied for and was approved to add the Hamline plan letters P (Leap), O (speaking intensive), and D (diversity) to the course.


    The next steps are to continue to work with the MN Department of Corrections Education Director to select inside (incarcerated) students for the class. The course also requires background checks, volunteer training orientations, and additional preparation for outside students (Hamline students). I will also be seeking internal grants for continued funding for the project to pay for books, transportation, speaking events, and supplies to continue the program.


    Professor Schaefer's Comment on "Inside-Out Prison Exchange" Brochure: 

    The Inside-Out Prison Exchange program was founded in 1997 by Lori Pompa at Temple University. It was based on a simple hypothesis that incarcerated men and women and college students might mutually benefit from studying crime, justice, and related social issues together as peers. Shortly after, Lori held the first class at Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania and since then, through the International Training Institute, there are now 550 trained instructors in 40 states and 3 Canadian provinces. Dr. Shelly Schaefer completed the Inside-Out Instructor training in June of 2014 in Oregon and shortly after began working with the Minnesota Department of Corrections over the period of a year to partner and offer Hamline’s first Inside-Out Prison Exchange course for fall 2015. The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is unique because it brings college students together with incarcerated men and women to study as peers in a seminar spanning the course of a semester behind prison walls. Hamline’s first Inside-Out Prison Exchange Course will examine Life Course Criminology. Both inside and outside students will read Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, and Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70 by John Laub and Robert Sampson to explore topics related to the justice system and life course transitions. The format for this course is unique as it relies heavily on dialectical pedagogy, reflection through writing, and the completion of a group project.