History of Prison Education @ OSU


The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program® is an international initiative directed at transforming ways of thinking about crime and justice. The program was founded by Lori Pompa at Temple University in 1997 to bring college students ("outside students") and incarcerated individuals ("inside students") together in a classroom setting in the hopes of developing an innovative partnership between institutions of higher learning and prison systems.

In 2009, Dr. Angela Bryant, department of Sociology, was awarded an OSU Service-Learning Course Development grant to develop and teach the first OSU Inside-Out course at the Southeastern Correctional Institution (SCI), where she offered her corrections class every fall from 2009-2019. From 2011-2017, Dr. Bryant received support from Dean and Director Bill MacDonald of OSU-Newark to utilize non-state subsidy funds to ensure all incarcerated students received college credit through her Inside-Out classes. Dr. Bryant helped grow Inside-Out classes at OSU to include four faculty members from three different departments offering five courses each academic year. Dr. Mary Thomas, department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, started offering her Inside-Out class in 2019 at the Franklin Medical Center; Feminist Perspectives of Incarceration in the U.S. Dr. Tiyi Morris, department of African American and African Studies, started offering her Inside-Out class in 2019 at the Franklin Medical Center; Social (In) Justice and the Black Experience. Dr. Brenda Chaney, department of Sociology, started offering her Inside-Out class in 2012 at the Ohio Reformatory for Women; Issues in Globalization. In 2017, Dr. Chaney started offering another Inside-Out course at Marion Correctional; School to Prison Pipeline. All three Inside-Out classes offered in the department of Sociology are offered under the course number SOC 2211: S+GE. Dr. Bryant worked to ensure the three Inside-Out classes offered through the OSU department of Sociology could be repeatable by OSU students since the content differs and Inside-Out courses are also one of the integrated elective options required for all criminology majors. Both changes were approved in the Summer of 2018. With the assistance of OSU Newark Dean and Director Bill MacDonald, Dr. Bryant was also successful in diligent work with the OSU Registrar to obtain college credit at no cost for all OSU incarcerated students taking Inside-Out classes beginning fall 2018.

Through further expanding OSU course offerings and academic programming in Ohio prison facilities, OPEEP is building upon this rich legacy. We believe that supporting OSU faculty and staff to offer more prison-based courses yields exciting opportunities for students, both campus-based and incarcerated, to experience the benefits of collaborative learning. This expanded capacity also supports professional development for instructors, especially those eager to engage in social justice teaching and learning initiatives. In May 2021, 20 additional OSU instructors across 5 campuses underwent training to teach in prison settings. OPEEP instructors represent a wide range of disciplines – African American and African Studies, Art, Earth Sciences, Education, English, Environment and Natural Resources, Infectious Disease, Geography, Math, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Theater, and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. For more information on upcoming courses, please visit our “Courses” tab, and for more information on how to apply to enroll in an OPEEP course, please visit our "Student Resources" tab.