A Matter of Course
CRJU 445: Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program
WHO: Andrea Cantora, assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice, who has worked with the national Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program at UB since 2014
WHEN: Tuesdays 2-4:30 p.m., spring 2016
WHAT: Criminal justice students from UB attended class weekly with incarcerated men at the Jessup (Maryland) Correctional Institution to talk about crime, corrections and the re-entry process. Twenty-six students—including those living inside and outside of prison walls—studied as peers as they learned about the criminal justice process through discussions, readings, projects and papers.
In one assignment, the students wrote down everything they did over a two-day period, being as specific as possible about their meals, phone conversations, etc. Students then read their journals to each other in an effort to share and compare their experiences. In the final month of the class, students worked in groups and created newsletters to raise awareness about issues related to incarceration.
Cantora, who kept a blog about the experience, wrote: “Who would have thought that in just a few weeks these two groups would blend so well, would work collaboratively … and in the end would share similar emotions about an experience that allowed them to simply come together and share the learning process.” She plans to continue the class in spring 2017, and this fall, UB’s School of Criminal Justice introduced a bachelor’s degree to incarcerated men at the Jessup facility through the Second Chance Pell Grant pilot program, a U.S. Department of Education effort to combat recidivism through education.
• Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse (Clear)
• The Causes and Consequences of Prison Growth in the United States (Mauer)