Prison Education Project, Scottish Prison Service, HMP Addiewell
The Prison Education Project (PEP) is the largest prison education program of its kind in the United States. With the assistance of 2,400 university student and faculty volunteers, PEP has served approximately 7,000 inmates in 14 correctional facilities in California since 2011. By providing academic, life skills, and career development programming, PEP aims to educate, empower, and transform the lives of incarcerated individuals. Since 2014, this program has taken a group of veteran volunteers to an international destination to teach courses in prisons in Uganda, England, and Scotland. This article will focus on the PEP-Scotland experience. Eleven PEP instructors traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to teach courses in HMP Addiewell. There were 10 African American and one Asian American instructors on the PEP team. Nearly 100% of the inmates in their classes were white. This added an interesting dynamic to the experience. There were eleven 105-minute courses taught over a five-day period. This article will briefly discuss the genesis of this project, the content of the courses that were taught, the international prison education movement, the spirit of volunteerism, and the post-course outcome data. At the end of the courses, the in-custody students were given a survey, which contained three closed-ended questions and one open-ended question. The in-custody students' responses to the open-ended survey question describe this experience in ways in which this author could not--with vivid clarity, depth, and breadth.
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