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.
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