An Inside-Out class inside Oregon State Penitentiary. 

About Inside-Out at the University of Oregon

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program creates a dynamic partnership between institutions of higher learning and correctional systems in order to deepen the conversation about and transform our approaches to understanding crime, justice, freedom, inequality, and other issues of social concern.

Inside-Out brings college students together with incarcerated men and women to study as peers in a seminar behind prison walls. The core of the Inside-Out Program is a semester-long (or quarter-long) academic course, meeting once a week, through which 12 to 18 “outside” (undergraduate) students and the same number of “inside” (incarcerated) students attend class together inside prison. Students read a variety of texts, write several papers, and during class discuss issues in small and large groups. During the final month, students work together on a class project.

Inside-Out is an opportunity for college students to go behind the walls to reconsider what they have come to know about crime and justice. At the same time, it is an opportunity for those inside prison to place their life experiences in a larger framework. Inside-Out creates a paradigm shift for participants, encouraging transformation in individuals and, in so doing, serves as an engine for social change.

While those of us at the University of Oregon share many views with the Inside-Out community at large, the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program of Philadelphia or any other contingent of Inside-Out nationally.


What We've Achieved

  • The University of Oregon has the largest Inside-Out Program in the world, with 10 trained Inside-Out instructors and a strong alumni network.
  • Oregon offers nine Inside-Out classes each year at three correctional facilities throughout Oregon.
  • We've trained 14 Inside-Out instructors inside the Oregon State Penitentiary in the last two years. 
  • Alumni can stay involved after taking an Inside-Out class via Book Club and Side-by-Side.