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Prison program graduation Monday

January 1, 2008
After spending a semester together learning about social action in a class led by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 12 Indiana Women's Prison inmates and 12 IUPUI students will celebrate what they learned at a graduation ceremony Monday morning in Indianapolis.

The 24 students were part of a collaborative effort between the university and the Indiana Women's Prison entitled Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, which first began in Indiana last year. The 12 IUPUI students attended the class inside the Women's Prison.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program began 10 years ago in Philadelphia and became a national program in 2004. Roger Jarjoura, an instructor for this semester's class and an associate professor of criminal justice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, and Susan Hyatt, an associate professor of anthropology in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, launched the program in Indiana after attending a training class in 2006.

The IUPUI students initially had hesitations about attending class in the prison and about interacting with the inmates, Hyatt said, adding the inmates can be intimidated by the idea of taking a college course and fear they won't be accepted by the outside students.

The program helps IUPUI students have a deeper meaning to what they learned in the class and allows the inmates to gain confidence and focus their thinking on how to live effective lives once they are released from prison.
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