INSIDE-OUT: Prison Exchange Program


The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is a national educational model that brings college students together with incarcerated men and women to study as peers in a seminar behind prison walls. The core of the Inside-Out Program is a semester-long (or quarter-long) academic course, meeting once a week, through which 12 “outside” (undergraduate) students and the same number of “inside” (incarcerated) students attend class together inside prison. Classes are offered through a wide variety of disciplines, from criminal justice to literature. Students read a variety of texts, write several papers, and during class discuss issues in small and large groups. In many classes, students work together students work together on a class project.

Inside-Out is an opportunity for college students to go behind the walls to reconsider what they have come to know about crime and justice. At the same time, it is an opportunity for those inside prison to place their life experiences in a larger framework. Inside-Out creates a paradigm shift for participants, encouraging transformation in individuals and, in so doing, serves as an engine for social change.

While those of us at the University of Oregon share many views with the Inside-Out community at large, the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program of Philadelphia or any other contingent of Inside-Out nationally.



  • The University of Oregon has the largest Inside-Out Program in the world, with 10 trained Inside-Out instructors and a strong alumni network.

  • Oregon offers between five and nine Inside-Out classes each year at three correctional facilities throughout Oregon. In the next 3-5 years we hope to offer 10 classes each year.

  • Our ACE leadership group is one of the oldest "think tanks" of inside and outside leaders in the country.

  • We provided training for 14 Inside-Out instructors through the national program at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

  • Outside students can stay involved after taking an Inside-Out class through multiple innovative and student-led programs, including Discovery Group and Side-By-Side.

For more information on Inside-Out courses at the University of Oregon, please contact us at