Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

The Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Wayne State University (WSU) and the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) are pleased to offer students the opportunity to enroll in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is unlike any other class offered at WSU. The semester-long course meets once per week inside the Detroit Reentry Center (DRC) located less than ten minutes away from the university. The class combines WSU students (outside students) with an equal number of incarcerated men (inside students) at the DRC in Detroit, MI. Both WSU and incarcerated students have the same syllabus and academic requirements, and students learn about crime and justice together through collaboration and dialogue.

Inside-Out was founded by Lori Pompa at Temple University with the first class taking place in the Philadelphia Prison System in 1997. The program has since grown to include 565 trained instructors from 40 states and six countries reaching over 20,000 students. The fall 2017 Inside-Out class in the criminal justice department here at Wayne State marks the first official course being offered at the university with recognition by the Provost Office.

For more information

For any general questions about Inside-Out at WSU, please contact Professor Matt Larson at

Course description

CRJ 5995 Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program (three credits)

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is a semester-long overview of current social justice topics taught inside the DRC. The curriculum will focus in particular on mass incarceration and will include the exploration of why people commit crime, populations most impacted by issues of mass incarceration, racism and classism as it relates to mass incarceration, various forms of punishment and rehabilitation, retributive justice versus restorative justice and reform efforts to decrease mass incarceration.

Inside and outside students meet separately on the first and last weeks of class in order to properly orient and debrief the experience. During the semester, inside and outside students will discuss issues, complete reading/writing assignments, and work together to complete a group project.