Inmates and Students Paired for Inside-Out Program - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Inmates and Students Paired for Inside-Out Program

Posted:
Both students and inmates have found the benefits of the program. Both students and inmates have found the benefits of the program.
Students can put a name to a faceless institution and inmates saw things from a different perspective. Students can put a name to a faceless institution and inmates saw things from a different perspective.

For the last three years, Ohio Northern students have been going behind bars. Not for crimes they committed, but to take part in the Inside-Out Exchange Program. For the 15 week semester, 10 students and 10 inmates at Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution, have class together once a week for three hours at the correctional facility.

The program is intended to give students an inside look at correctional facilities, but it is also about the interaction between inmates and students to metaphorically "break down barriers.”

"So that’s what this is about, changing the perceptions, for our students, but I think from the other side as well," said Tristin Kilgallon, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Ohio Northern University. "The perceptions about college students as well. We’ve had students come through, inside students who’ve had college degrees and taken classes. But for the most part most of a lot of them (inmates) have had limited exposure to college students. So I guess it’s about breaking down perceptions on all sides."

"The first day I got here there was a lot of anxiety," said Julie Handel a senior at ONU and Inside-Out participant. "I was really nervous to come in and sit down with a group of people. Now I just come in and I’m like ‘Oh I’m excited to go talk to this person. They were talking to me about this, this week. I wonder how that worked out for them.’ It’s just more or less a conversation coming in, coming to see people on a weekly basis."

Both students and inmates have found the benefits of the program. Students can put a name to a faceless institution and inmates saw things from a different perspective.

"We really need to evaluate the way we look at the inmates within our criminal justice system," Handel said. "That it’s not just a number on paper. It’s not just, this person committed this crime and this is the sentence they’re serving. This is a person, that we are applying consequences to." 

"I’ve learned from being here," Tevin Wilson said, an inmate and participant of the program. "I’m not coming back here and that people in here all think like I think. That they made a mistake and they want to do better. Not all people that come here want to continuously come back. There is a group of people that do want to go home and do better for their family and friends and loved ones."

Handel said that she can apply what she learned going forward in her psychology career while wilson said he can take what he learned when he is released from prison. Both agreed they would recommend the program to other inmates or students. 

/
Loading...