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Lack Of Funding Shuts Down Inmate-Undergrad Combo Class

Thomas Hawk

An Indiana University course which brings undergraduate students and incarcerated people together to study social justice issues is ending.

The class is part of a national program and taught Indiana University students and prisoners at the Monroe County jail.

Some semesters a public speaking class and some a civic engagement one – this course is part of a national program called Inside Out. The program brings traditional students and prisoners together to study social justice issues. Students are asked to find small solutions to big problems.

At Indiana University, the class was only taught by Ph.D candidates, and graduate students can only receive funding for four years. And after this semester the funding will end.

Inside Out founder and criminal justice instructor at Temple University Lori Pompa says these classes improve a community because of the positive affect they have, not only on traditional students, but on those who are incarcerated and have frequently had bad experiences in school.

“So what they have is this incredible educational experience through the Inside Out program and it enlivens people,” Pompa says. “It gets people in touch with how smart they are, how capable they are how creative they can be.”

Although current funding is done, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences spokesperson says another graduate student could be trained in the program and apply for funding to continue it.

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