prison education, pedagogy, agency, community-based learning


We examine a case study of a collaboration between a University and a Women’s Correctional Institution: an Inside Out college course that brings together incarcerated and traditional students. We analyze the creation of a class in the aftermath of a riot in the region and in the ongoing context of internal and external reforms. We provide specific examples of mistakes, lessons learned, and the impact of our pedagogical values and techniques, and provide links to our class materials. We emphasize communication between the institutions, from the students to instructors, among the instructors, and from instructors to students. In the classroom, we exploit our expertise and our non-expertise as learners together to break down perceived barriers. We also emphasize the value of self-care and recognition of all students as agentic. We conclude with a call for future research that attends to student agency and that examines who benefits from prison-university partnerships.

Author Bio

Chrysanthi Leon, JD, PhD, is associate professor of Sociology & Criminal Justice, Women & Gender Studies, and Legal Studies at the University of Delaware. Leon received her graduate degrees from UC Berkeley. Leon is an interdisciplinary scholar in the area of penology, law and society whose research and teaching includes sex crime and punishment, sex work, and law and literature Inside Out.

Graciela Perez, MA, is a doctoral student in Criminology at the University of Delaware. Her thesis examined cannabis use among adolescents in three countries. Other research interests include race relation in the United States and immigration.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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