I’m teaching something like my 10th Inside-Out class in the Oregon State Penitentiary, and I am inspired anew by my students’ compassion and commitment to learning with and from each other.  Even more impressive, they are already taking the learning outside of the classroom and passing their knowledge on as widely as possible.  This quarter we are focused on issues concerning crime, prisons, communities, and prevention.  We are only three weeks into the quarter; we have shared just three classes within the prison.

I am writing this post to share an informative editorial written by Molly, one of the current outside students, and published in Oregon State University’s student newspaper, The Daily Barometer.  Molly does a great job of discussing difficult issues surrounding incarceration, punishment and communities clearly and convincingly.  Molly is a columnist for the paper, so I may be sharing more of her work throughout the quarter as the class continues.

There are more exciting projects in the works, including: a plan to visit our state representatives to talk about prisons and mandatory minimum sentencing, participation in a campus diversity summit representing the voices of incarcerated or formerly incarcerated students, and negotiations about a possible discussion of the class and the issues on public radio.

This is an extremely motivated group of students and they are already providing an important service as public criminologists.  It will be fun to see just how much we can accomplish this quarter.  Stay tuned.