Indiana University

News Release

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Inside-Out Prison Exchange course brings together students from IU, correctional facility

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April 26, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Students from Indiana University Bloomington and Indiana's Putnamville Correctional Facility have spent the spring semester working and studying together to better understand the social meaning of crime, incarceration, class and other issues.

On Friday (April 29), they will present what they have learned during a closing ceremony for the course, titled "Place, Culture, Prison." It is part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, in which college students and prison inmates -- "outside" and "inside" students -- learn together as peers.

"The students have come together over a social barrier that rarely gets crossed. That in itself has created incredible insight about society, social categories and the divisions among us," said instructor Micol Seigel, IU associate professor in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and the American Studies Program.

Students met on Friday mornings at the correctional facility, read and discussed numerous articles and book chapters, and wrote eight papers. For their final projects, one group developed a rhythm and song routine, another created a series of spoken-word performances or dramatic readings, and the third produced a "'zine" with personal essays and drawings.

The projects will be presented Friday during the closing ceremony, which takes place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Putnamville Correctional Facility.

"The students have come together to produce artistic performances reflecting on the theme of critical moments in time," Seigel said. "The results are very beautiful and satisfying to all of them, and they're very excited to share these performances with visitors at the closing ceremony."

This is the second spring that Seigel has taught an Inside-Out course at Putnamville, a medium-security facility operated by the Indiana Department of Correction. The course includes 12 inside students from Putnamville and 13 outside students (10 undergraduates and three graduate students) from IU.

Inside-Out courses have also been offered by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis faculty at the Indiana Women's Prison and the Plainfield Re-Entry Facility.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program was founded in 1997 by Lori Pompa, a faculty member at Temple University in Philadelphia. It became a national program in 2004 and has offered some 275 courses reaching approximately 8,000 students. For information, see

News media: To speak to Seigel, contact Steve Hinnefeld at University Communications, 812-856-3488 or

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