UO coordinates formation of Prison Education Committee

There are myriad examples of exciting and productive intersections between the university and all levels of government. One such example is the UO Prison Education Committee, which launched on March 17. State Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-South Lane and North Douglas Counties), who chairs the Committee on Judiciary, joined UO President Schill, Department of Corrections Director Colette Peters, UO faculty, and state agency staff on March 17 at the committee kick-off luncheon.

The Prison Education Committee aims to foster collaboration between the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) and the University of Oregon. The committee will build on the accomplishments of existing educational programs to enhance opportunities for prisoners and free citizens to learn with and from one another.

Currently, UO has one of the largest “Inside-Out” programs in the country—a program started at Temple University that brings college students and incarcerated men and women together to study as peers within prisons. The program consists of  quarter-long academic courses, during which 12 to 15 “outside” (campus-based) students have class once a week with the same number of “inside” (incarcerated) students. All participants read a variety of texts, write weekly papers, and engage in small and large group discussions and projects. 

The committee plans to work toward the shared goal of the advancement of higher learning with partners, including the Oregon Legislature, Lane County Youth Services, Oregon Youth Authority, Sponsors, Inc., the Oregon State Correctional Institution, Oregon State Penitentiary, and the Oregon Department of Corrections. UO Professor Shaul Cohen leads the Committee.