UK Class Pairs Students And Inmates

Jan 6, 2014

A new course offered at the University of Kentucky features an unlikely pairing: college students and inmates at Blackburn Correctional Complex.

The program, known as “Inside-Out,” is being used across the country and was offered for the first time at UK last semester.

The class was comprised of 32 people – 16 UK students and 16 inmates. They gathered in the Blackburn visitation room and studied as peers. Every student was required to read more than 400 pages, write 10 reflection papers, create group presentations and write a 15- to 20-page final paper.

Instructor Michele Staton-Tindell says the process broke down a number of barriers.

"When you read about a certain population of people, when you hear things about a certain population of people, it's very different than when you actually sit down and work together with them to address problems. So, they really learned to accept viewpoints that were very different than their own and they learned a lot just about life experiences in general," she says.

The goal of the course was to examine the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs through a sociological analysis and a social work framework for policy and treatment.

The Inside-Out Program was developed in 1997 at Temple University and operates in more than 300 prisons across the U.S.