Swarthmore, Widener a Part of Nationwide Prison Program’s Educational Success

Image of Lori Pompa, who started the Inside-Out Prison Exchange, and a staffer and former inmate via Jessica Griffin, Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange – an educational program that pairs colleges like Swarthmore and Widener with correctional institutions around the globe – is celebrating two decades of success, writes Samantha Melamed for CorrectionsOne.com.

The program brings college students and the incarcerated together for semester-long courses. It was started 20 years ago by Temple professor Lori Pompa in a Philadelphia jail.

Since then, the program has expanded to Graterford Prison and nearly 150 other facilities, with close to 30,000 “inside” and “outside” students already taking part.

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The unique, democratic approach and strict parameters have helped the program flourish. It now offers options ranging from criminal justice subjects to social sciences, humanities, and arts.

Program participants have also founded a Think Tank that continues even after the course is completed. This has helped Pompa develop an outreach strategy, get funding, and devise a curriculum for a seven-day training course at Temple and Graterford Prison to help expand the program nationally.

“There are four things Inside-Out is not,” said Pompa. “We don’t study people; we’re not helping people; it’s not advocacy or activism; and it’s not an opportunity for people to develop relationships. It’s educational.”

Read more about Inside-Out at CorrectionsOne.com by clicking here.

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