Steans Center > For Students > Community Service Studies > Inside-Out Prison Exchange

Inside-Out Prison Exchange

​​​​​​We talk a lot about human dignity and social justice at the university. This is one of those academic spaces where these values are truly lived out both during the course and beyond.
-Dr. Jacqueline Lazú, Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

In 2012, through support from the Steans Center, Community Service Studies launched DePaul's Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.

More than 2.3 million people are currently incarcerated in the U.S. DePaul trains faculty and students to learn together with students on the inside of the prison system as part of a national program established at and supported by the Inside-Out Center at Temple University.

According to the Inside-Out Center, "the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program increases opportunities for men and women, inside and outside of prison, to have transformative learning experiences that emphasize collaboration and dialogue, inviting participants to take leadership in addressing crime, justice, and other issues of social concern."

DePaul's Inside-Out program is a direct reflection of the university's Catholic identity and Vincentian mission to respect the dignity of each person. This personalism is manifested through solidarity with those who live in the most dire circumstances. The university's Community Service Studies Minor in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences engages prisoners as equals through facilitating the offering of courses onsite at Stateville Correctional Center outside Joliet, Illinois and at Cook County Jail on Chicago's Southwest Side. These courses bring DePaul students and inmates to together to learn as peers, engaging in a variety of topics depending on the faculty member and the course offering.

Below is a Letter to the Editor written by Inside-Out Professor Kimberly Moe and published in the New York Times on September 3, 2017.

Let Prisoners Learn While They Serve (editorial, Aug. 16) adeptly reveals the benefits of prison education as a cost-effective means of reducing recidivism.

I teach DePaul University courses inside Stateville Correctional Center and Cook County Department of Corrections. The students are enthusiastic, motivated learners, who do more homework and preparation than the majority of traditional college students I have encountered in 30 years.

The incarcerated students, representative of all incarcerated people in the United States, are disproportionately people of color and come from neglected neighborhoods. Communities can and do benefit from re-entering community members whose unrealized abilities have been nurtured. The benefit of education in prisons is more far-reaching than lowering recidivism rates. Education in prison has a resonance that reaches all those connected to a prisoner.

Providing quality education for people inside prison, coupled with greater support upon release, carries the very real possibility of transforming the inmates into community champions of change."


Courses are offered each term, capacity is limited, and enrollment is by instructor only. DePaul students interested in learning more about Inside-Out at DePaul should contact Nila Ginger Hofman or Helen Damon-Moore.

Professor Kimberly Moe's Inside-Out students, Winter Quarter 2017

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