Posted on Monday, May 11, 2015
As spring semester draws to a close, Westminster College students reminisce about their weekly visits to Trumbull Correctional Institution in Leavittsburg, Ohio.
Every Thursday, co-facilitators Kristenne Robison, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice studies, and John Romero, senior criminal justice studies major, drove their criminology class of twelve 45 minutes to take a class alongside incarcerated men housed at the Correctional Institution. There, they would sit side-by-side, learn together and build friendships with one another through learning.
As part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange, the program brings college students together with incarcerated men and women to study as equals behind prison walls. Together, the group read a variety of texts, wrote several papers, and discussed social topics in large and small groups. This was the first year of Westminster’s involvement.
“The first class was a success,” said Robison. “It took the class a few weeks to gel, but once they did they found a great balance between learning and having fun. None of us wanted it to end. I am proud of all the students for taking the risk to challenge themselves in a class format they knew little about. We plan to partner again next spring when we offer the sociology of violence and nonviolence course."
According to the Inside-Out website, “[the 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.”
For more information about the Inside-Out program, or about criminal justice studies at Westminster, contact Robison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-946-6033.