MDC’s North Campus recognized the academic accomplishments of the 56 graduates of the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program’s inaugural class, with a commencement ceremony at Everglades Correctional Institution, on Wednesday, April 17.
Inside Out brings traditional college students and incarcerated learners together in jails and prisons for semester-long learning. The program facilitates dialogue and education across profound social differences and ignites enthusiasm for learning, helping students to find their voice, and challenging them to consider what good citizenship requires. Participating students took classes in Constitutional Law and Introduction to Psychology, imparted by North Campus Professors Samantha Carlo and Minca Davis-Brantley, the educators responsible for bringing the program to MDC in 2018.
“Higher education in prison is a matter of great pride and importance to our institution as education provides an opportunity for a second chance in life” said Dr. Malou C. Harrison, President of North and InterAmerican campuses. “Dr. Davis-Brantley and Prof. Carlo are true champions of prison education, and they have been working diligently since 2014 to bring post-secondary college courses into correctional institutions. As recipients of President Padron’s Innovation Fund, they were afforded the opportunity to attend the training to become certified Inside Out instructors. We are proud that MDC is first in Florida to run Inside Out courses.”
Professors Davis-Brantley and Carlo implemented the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program at MDC as an extension of their work with ESUBA, a psycho-educational program offered in several prisons in South Florida. They began recruiting students at the College and inside the prison in the fall of 2018 and in spring of 2019, began the first classes made up of MDC and prison-based students. Each class had close to 30 participants.
In 1994, the federal government passed legislation that put a ban on all Pell Grants for incarcerated individuals. This ended most higher education programs in prisons across the country. Inside Out is an opportunity for incarcerated students to be exposed to college course curriculum despite the federal ban.
Since it began in 1997, Inside Out has grown into an international network of more than 900 trained instructors from across the U.S. and several countries. Correctional and higher education institutions have partnered to create opportunities for more than 35,000 “inside” and “outside” students to move beyond the walls that separate them. Inside-Out generates social change through transformative education.”