Inside-Out: Students and Inmates Learn as Peers

Amherst students and Hampshire County inmates share an educational experience unlike any other

By Rachel Rogol
January 6, 2016

Inside Out prison exchange

Amherst students Sylvia Hickman ’16 and Teresa Frenzel ’17 with inside students Phillip and Tyler, chatting after their last class together at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction

Last semester, Sylvia Hickman ’16 enrolled in the Amherst course “Equality and Violence,” which met every week at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Corrections in Northampton, Mass.

Organized as part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, the course brought 10 Amherst and Hampshire College undergraduates (“outside students”) and eight incarcerated men (“inside students”) together as peers. The course focused on gender, racial and class inequality, and how these disparities are linked to violence and sexual assault on college campuses, in prisons and in the wider world. 

A Different Kind of Audience

By Ioanida Costache ’12

For the past three weeks a group of string players have been working with Professor of Music David Schneider on a chamber music project designed to get classical music out of its traditional settings of classrooms and concert halls.  With Schneider on clarinet, a string quartet composed of UMass alumnus Ben Van Vliet, me on violin, Hana Kommel ’10 on viola and local cellist Wayne Smith prepared a range of pieces to bring to a different kind of audience.