Inside Out

Inside-Out (I-O) is a program offered by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns in which “inside students” at the Westville Correctional Facility and “outside students” from the Notre Dame campus learn with and from each other in a dynamic educational environment inside prison walls.

The Center’s program is modeled on the national Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program that began in 1997 as a collaboration between Temple University and the Philadelphia Prison System. Rooted in the “belief that our society is strengthened when higher education/learning is made widely accessible and, at the same time, when it allows participants to encounter each other as equals, often across profound social barriers,” I-O courses are now offered by over 200 university/corrections partnerships both nationally and internationally.  

The Center for Social Concerns launched its first I-O course in 2012, engaging restorative justice as an alternative to the current criminal justice system. The Center added a second I-O course in 2016, exploring dimensions of human freedom – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The 3-credit courses meet once a week throughout the semester, as outside students travel to Westville Correctional to meet with inside students to analyze texts, share experiences, and reflect on course themes. Assignments include weekly readings, short essays, visual art projects, group presentations, and a final paper. While the class structure and pedagogical approach remains consistent in each   I-O course offered by the Center (as modeled by the national I-O program), individual courses can be offered in any discipline. To learn more, contact Mike Hebbeler in the Center for Social Concerns.