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Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

The “Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program" offers prison-based post-secondary academic courses to groups composed of both university students (outside students) and incarcerated students (inside students) who learn together. Founded in 1997 in Philadelphia by one university professor inspired by one incarcerated man, the program is based on the simple hypothesis that incarcerated men and women and college/university students might mutually benefit from studying together as peers. Together, they build classroom communities based on dialogue, collaboration and serious, shared inquiry. The core of the program is a semester-long, seminar-format academic course taught using a circle pedagogy and collaborative dialogue.

Interested students are asked to submit an application. Short-listed students will be interviewed and successful students will be enrolled by the course instructors. Security clearances will need to be completed following acceptance into the course.

Course Offerings

DateCourse No.Course TitleStatus
Fall 2023CRIM 497Social Issues: Ideas in ActionApplications are Closed
Spring 2024CRIM 297Exploring Social Problems: Connecting Personal Lives to Public IssuesApplications are Closed
May/June 2024CRIM 297Trauma and Resiliency (online)Accepting Applications


Now accepting applications.

Apply to the Inside-Out Program


The program that brings incarcerated people and university students together.

The Inside-Out program places a human face on justice issues while giving both inside and outside students a powerful academic and experiential learning opportunity, grounded in a philosophy recognizing that each human being has innate worth and a story to tell. VIU is among the first five universities in Canada to offer Inside-Out, building on the successful experiences of over 150 American universities and colleges. Inside-Out courses have been running at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre since 2016. A grant from the Vancouver Foundation has helped this program expand to the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria and to students studying in all academic departments at VIU.

Learn more about the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Articles on the history of the program, the international network, research, testimonials and inspiring videos.

Questions? Contact