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Our Project

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Learn more about OPEEP's mission and impact from project Co-Directors, instructors, and students in the video above.

OPEEP works to increase access to quality higher education for incarcerated and justice-involved individuals.

We are building prison-to-college pathways through campus and community based education, advocacy, and outreach. OPEEP courses bring campus-based and incarcerated students together in Ohio prison settings for collaborative and transformative educational experiences.

Guided by a commitment to equity and radical inclusion, we believe that quality education is a right regardless of one’s background, identity, or status. Our project emphasizes collaborative learning opportunities for incarcerated students alongside campus students in several of central Ohio’s prison facilities. Broadening experiences of learning in new and challenging contexts illustrates the rewards of engaging in intellectual projects through empathy and a shared commitment to recognize the dignity of all people.

OPEEP’s efforts to expand prison-based education across OSU’s multiple campuses include many activities underway and planned in the near future. We are working to expand the range of prison-based curricular offerings across the Arts and Sciences. To increase the number of OSU faculty eligible to teach in Ohio prisons, OPEEP offers its own instructor training. Our project enriches OSU student learning opportunities through offering transformational, social justice-oriented courses which fully immerse students in segments of their local communities they otherwise might not ever engage with. We also work with incarcerated students to support their higher education goals, and our plans include a regional collaboration with other central Ohio colleges and universities to expand programming and degree-completion for incarcerated students and returned citizens.

We are also excited to offer guidance on aligning OPEEP courses with the new General Education curriculum, especially for high impact and service-learning opportunities. Contact us to learn more.

Join us as we develop a network of support for incarcerated students and justice-involved people to access quality higher education while cultivating a more informed and compassionate community at OSU.
A photo of Dr. Mary Thomas' Spring 2019 WGSS class, "Feminist Perspectives of Incarceration in the US," at Franklin Medical Center.


In Ohio, we live on lands claimed by tribes speaking Algonquian and Iroquois languages. The Shawnee were one of the largest groups in Ohio at the time of European incursion. Many other groups indigenous to the continent of Turtle Island came to this region (Ohio) as European settlers pushed them off their lands –some as early as the 1600s. These include the Miami, Delaware (Lenape), Ottawa, Seneca (who came to be Seneca-Cayuga), and Wyandot.

We acknowledge that OSU campus lands have long served as sites of meeting and exchange for these and other Indigenous people and Nations, and for the People of Fort Ancient, Hopewell, and Adena cultures, also known as the earthworks builders. OPEEP honors and respects the diverse Indigenous people connected to this land in which we gather.

For more information visit our Readings and Resources page. For updates on OPEEP visit our Newsletter.