Inside-Out, corrections, experiential learning, COVID-19, online education, correctional technology


The transient population of county jails pose unique challenges for program implementation and maintenance. This past year, the spread of COVID-19 substantially increased such challenges, particularly since most correctional institutions are opposed to using Internet-based technologies, such as Zoom, in the secure part of their institution. Although college programming is rare in most jails, Inside-Out type classes, which allow college students to take a credited course alongside the incarcerated in a correctional setting, is a great way to provide a missed opportunity for purposeful intervention for the incarcerated, while providing a unique experiential learning opportunity for traditional undergraduate students. Based on an Inside-Out class conducted during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, this paper examines the challenges of providing such instruction during a statewide shutdown, with preliminary data suggesting that despite a change in instruction mid-semester due to COVID-19, innovative technological methods can be utilized to maintain program integrity if correctional administrators are amenable to its implementation. Even though inside/outside students could not remain in the same classroom for the entire semester, as the original program was intended, both groups of students still benefited from a modified pedagogical model. Implications suggest that such methods could be utilized to maintain the integrity of correctional-based programming (post COVID) when the physical presence of faculty is prohibited or hindered.

Author Bio

Kimberly Collica-Cox, Ph.D. is a Professor with Pace University in the Department of Criminal Justice & Security. Her research focus is on incarcerated populations and prison-based programming; she has over 20 years of practitioner experience working with incarcerated populations and is a certified PREA and ACA auditor. She is the Director and co-creator of the Parenting, Prison & Pups Program, and has served as a professional trainer since 1997, working with incarcerated populations, correctional staff, and community-based service providers.

Acknowledgements: The author would like to thank the Westchester County Department of Correction, especially Joseph Spano, Louis Molina, Nory Padilla, Leandro Diaz, Walter Moccio, Marie Reyes, Michael Gerald, Cassandra Tejeda and Eileen Sacharewitz. for their commitment to rehabilitative programming and research. A special thanks to our inside and outside students for their commitment to higher education and to helping and supporting one another.

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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