Inside Out program

What We Learned about Education in the Nation’s 5th Largest Prison

Three weeks ago, I returned from a week long 60+ hour training at the Inside Out National Training Institute, just outside Philadelphia. As described by Inside-Out, the “Program is a creative link between two of the largest and most highly-funded institutional and social structures in our country: academia and prisons. These institutions traditionally have very different functions and goals in terms of education, control, and political influence, and they are, in general, alternately oriented towards the most advantaged and disadvantaged social strata in our society.” The program was formalized in 1997, and since then, has used its transformational pedagogy to bring thousands of students from the inside and outside together to learn about a range of subjects from Criminal Justice to Philosophy. This fall I will be teaching Creating Farm and Food Cooperatives in the Franklin County House of Corrections (FCHC) through a partnership between FCHC and Greenfield Community College (GCC), where TESA has taught for the last two years. Given TESA’s and GCC’s plan to teach the Cooperative class to a blended class in the prison, with both inside and outside students, the Inside- Out training was a necessity for us.