The Ohio State University at Marion


Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program creates avenues for social change through education and civic engagement. By generating opportunities for those incarcerated and college students to come together and learn in the same classroom, Inside-Out opens the door for people to gain an education that emphasizes collaborative learning and problem-solving.

With the goal of offering this as an official course at Ohio State Marion this spring, students and the prisoners taking part in the program would write papers, read books, discuss social issues, do presentations, and take part in a graduation ceremony.

Offered as an official course on Ohio State Marion's schedule, class lecturer Brenda Chaney’s students and the prisoners have the same expectations in the classroom. They write papers, read books, discuss social issues, do group presentations, and take part in a graduation ceremony, all together, behind prison.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange is a national program, headquartered at Temple University. Started in 2003, the program encompasses 123 colleges and universities with 7500 students involved to date. 

Chaney believes there is a valuable lesson for students and prisoners alike in the program.

“Students will learn that there is a fine line between who goes to prison and who goes to college,” she said. “Students will learn that a slight change in circumstance could put them in the other place.”