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. 

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Lisa Biggs is an award-winning theatre/dance artist, performance scholar and activist. A Chicago-native, she has been developing and presenting new performance works for almost twenty years. Her current research uses performance studies approaches to uncover and articulate how contemporary legal and penal systems enact criminalization, incarceration and rehabiltiaiton, with a special focus on the impact of theatre and dance programs for women behind bars in the US and in South Africa.

Colloquium on “Constitution and the Prison: Incarceration American Style” at Amherst College May 2 and 3

Submitted by Holly R. Saltrelli
April 24, 2008 Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna Director of Media Relations 413/542-8417