Students will be driven in College vans. The vans will depart promptly at 1:20 PM and return to the College at aprroximately 5:00 PM on Wednesday afternoons. The prison is located in Northampton. For more information see the Hampshire County Jail and House of Corrections under "external links".
WILL THIS COURSE BE AS ACADEMICALLY RIGOROUS AS OTHER AMHERST COURSES?
Definitely. The subject matter, content, and learning objectives are similar to other Amherst courses. There is an unusually heavy reading load during the first three weeks of the course (which includes only Amherst students). The readings for the remainder of the course are short and heavily edited for readability. If students desire to read a larger portion of a book or article, it will be available on reserve.
WHY DO YOU ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT STUDENTS’ ARREST AND CONVICTION RECORDS?
In the selection of students I will not discriminate on the basis of criminal records. Prison administrators require clearance checks on all individuals who are admitted inside the prison. It is usually helpful to inform administrators of a criminal record before it is discovered in the process of completing background checks.
HAS THIS KIND OF COURSE BEEN TAUGHT BEFORE?
This model of teaching was developed as the “Inside-Out Program” at Temple University. More information about that program can be found under “external links.” Over the past couple of years a group of professors have been “trained” to conduct these classes. Throughout the United States, these courses are beginning to be taught in a variety of academic programs (including liberal arts colleges, Universities, and criminal justice programs). This will be the third time I have taught the course at Amherst. Currently Professor Martha Saxton is also teaching an Inside-Out course.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS INVOLVED IN TAKING THIS CLASS?
It is risky to leave campus for educational purposes and there are additional risks that arise from being inside a correctional facility. Abiding by the rules and regulations of the course is absolutely critical for the protection of both students inside and outside of the prison (see the “Student Contract”). Students are encouraged to fully explore all possible risks before deciding to register for the class. The professor is available to discuss questions you might have about the risks associated with the course. The course has been reviewed by the Five College Risk Manager and students will be asked to sign waivers of liability for the College. Ultimately, the evaluation of risk is a personal decision.