Inside-Out course at Clarke County Jail, Spring 2023
The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is a course that brings together campus-based college students and incarcerated students. Typically, the course is comprised of 15 "inside" (incarcerated) students and 15 "outside" (non-incarcerated) students and meets in a correctional setting. Inside-Out at UGA (SOCI 4470S) is an opportunity for a small group of students from UGA and a group of residents at the Clarke County Jail to exchange ideas and perceptions about crime and justice, the criminal justice system, and imprisonment. It is a chance for all participants to gain a deeper sociological understanding of the criminal justice system by engaging in conversation about theories, academic research, and practical experience. Through facilitated dialogue and active learning, the program creates a powerful and transformative learning environment for all participants. All students, whether "inside" or "outside" read the same texts, complete the same assignments, and participate with equal status in the classroom.
This "experiential learning" opportunity follows the pedagogy of the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program, an international educational model that "increases opportunities for men and women, inside and outside of prison, to have transformative learning experiences that emphasize collaboration and dialogue, inviting participants to take leadership in addressing crime, justice, and other issues of social concern."
Since spring 2017, 94 outside students and 57 inside students have completed the Inside-Out program through the UGA Sociology - Clarke County Sheriff's Office partnership. Inside-Out classes have been taught at over 350 colleges and universities nationwide and in several other countries since 1997. More than 60,000 students have taken Inside-Out courses hosted by over 200 correctional institutions, including county jails, state prisons, federal prisons, juvenile facilities, and community correctional facilities at all security levels. For more information on the Inside-Out model click here.
Read the zine created by the spring 2023 UGA Inside-Out class. Hear from past "outside" students about the course in this video. Read my 2019 report on the impact of Inside-Out at the Clarke County Jail:
Are you interested in taking an Inside-Out course at UGA? The next Inside-Out class at UGA is planned for spring semester 2024, facilitated by Dr. Sarah Shannon (SOCI 4470S). Class meetings will take place twice per week for 2.5 hours each over 8 weeks (typically January - March). NOTE: this means that a full semester's worth of class meetings and content will be condensed into half the normal semester length. The course requires an application and interview process.
What are the requirements of an Inside-Out course? There are no prerequisites, but students must apply, participate in an interview, and be approved before registering for the course. Attendance and full participation in all class meetings is mandatory (barring cases of illness or emergency) so please make sure that there will be no conflicts with other classes, work schedules, or other outside obligations during this class period, factoring in extra time to travel to and from the jail facility. This is not a class that you can skip, arrive late to, or leave early from. Missing class not only affects you but the whole group dynamic. Leaving early or coming late will not be allowed due to security protocols at the jail. Inside-Out classes include typical coursework elements, including readings, writing assignments, and a group project.
Is Inside-Out a service project? No. Inside-Out is not an opportunity for charity to "help" or "serve" incarcerated people. This course does include a service project but it is done as a true collaboration in which inside and outside students design (and implement) the project. It is also important to know that Inside-Out is NOT a research project, a “scared straight” program, or a “whistle blowing” opportunity. Can I stay in contact with the “inside” (incarcerated) students after the course ends? No. Inside-Out is not a vehicle for developing personal relationships that extend outside of the parameters of the course. Only first names (or pseudonyms) will be used in the jail classroom. Inside and outside students are not allowed to share contact information with one another in any form (including addresses, phone numbers, or social media handles) and will not be in touch with each other after the class ends. This is a matter of ethics and safety for everyone involved. This is often the most difficult aspect of an Inside-Out course but it is essential in order to ensure the integrity and future of the program. All students enrolled in the course must agree to these terms, which will be strictly enforced.
The application for spring 2024 is now closed. To be notified about future offerings, fill out this form.