One of the most innovative projects facilitated by the Center for Prison Outreach and Education is the “College in Prison” program, which allows TCNJ students the opportunity to take courses taught by TCNJ faculty alongside inmates.
These courses vary widely in topic, from prison culture to urban sociology to the “war on drugs.” The student body of these courses is just about evenly split between college students and inmates, who learn together. While the environment mirrors that of an average college classroom, the unique perspectives shared by both groups creates an enhanced atmosphere of learning that can be replicated in few other places.
Through funding from NJ STEP, the inmates as well as the TCNJ students receive course credit and are held to the same standards as with any course offered on campus.
Students who have taken these courses, whether they are living behind bars or in the dorms, have reported positive experiences and changed perceptions about their counterparts. Click here for some testimonials from students or check out the article published in TCNJ Magazine.
The Spring 2014 course will be LIT 270 Women in Literature taught by Professor Michele Tarter. This course will explore many stories and literary portraits of women, with a particular focus on those who have faced and overcome adversity. Looking at a diverse selection of literature—including memoirs, short stories, poetry and novels—we will examine the ways in which women have been described and inscribed across the ages. Our readings will include narratives of captivity and abduction, slavery, and incarceration. If you are interested in taking this course, please email Dr. Tarter (firstname.lastname@example.org), explaining your interest and hopes for this course.
Additionally, thanks to funding and collaboration with NJ STEP, the Center offers college courses for inmates only that can be applied towards an Associate Degree in Business Management. Upon release, these inmates will be in a good position to continue in higher education and again become productive members of society.