I’m always impressed with teachers who blend established knowledge with shifting social currents, bringing it together in ways that students can understand and appreciate. My pubcrim colleague Michelle Inderbitzin seems to do this every year in her classes at both Oregon State University and Oregon State Penitentiary.
This fall, her Inside-Out Prison Exchange students combined a social fact (that 1 of every 100 American adults is incarcerated) with a new social movement (the We are the 99 Percent cry of the Occupy movement) , photographing prisoners and the people around them holding signs that shared their stories. The result is We are the 1 in 100, a class project and tumblr site that shows an important side of the American incarceration story.
As a professor who works and teaches in this area, I rarely come across materials that render the lived everyday reality of prisons in such a clear, human, and intimate way. You can read Michelle’s account on pubcrim or visit and add to the archive with your own photos and stories. It takes courage and trust – and an impressive amount of work, in a 10-week class – to bring these private moments and messages to light.