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Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

In the Inside-Out Prison Exchange program, university students and students inside prisons take a university course together.

The core of the program is a 3-credit, seminar-format academic course taught using a talking circle approach.

Classes take place inside a prison where students build learning communities based on:

  • dialogue
  • collaboration
  • shared serious inquiry

The Inside-Out program places a human face on justice issues while giving both inside and outside students a powerful learning experience. The program is based on the idea that men and women in prison and university students might benefit from studying together, and on the idea that each human being has innate worth and a story to tell.

Course offerings

DateCourse no.Course titleStatus
May/June 2024CRIM 297Trauma and Resiliency (online)Applications closed
Fall 2024CRIM 497Introduction to Interpersonal Communication SkillsApplications closed
Spring 2025SOCI 290Walking with Spirit(s)Applications closed


The program that brings incarcerated people and university students together.

The Inside-Out program was founded 1997 by a university professor inspired by an incarcerated man. Since then, over 150 American universities and colleges have run successful Inside-Out programs. VIU was among the first five universities in Canada tooffer Inside-Out.

Inside-Out courses have been running at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre since 2016. A grant from the Vancouver Foundation helped this program expand. We started to offer Inside-Out at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria and to students studying in all academic departments at VIU. The program received generous support from the Northpine Foundation in 2022. This made collaborations between universities, colleges and correctional centres throughout the province possible.

Learn more about the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.