Education Inside US Prisons Seminar

Information Introduction

Section 1, Spring 24

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 13/16
Credits: 3
Days Time Room Start Date End Date




1130-1250 WB114

Course Description

The United States spends more than $80 billion annually on corrections at the federal, state and local levels. With approximately 10.6 million people going to jail every year, and approximately 2.3 million men and women sleeping behind bars every night, equaling 1 in 100 adults 18 years of age and older, we are the leader among industrial nations in incarcerations and arrests. Men account for 92 percent of people in prisons, but the number of women behind bars has skyrocketed from 8,000 in 1970 to 107,955 in 2019. Many incarcerated men and women are parents of minors that are months old to age seventeen. Nearly half of the adults in state prisons—44 percent—lived with their children prior to incarceration, and 52 percent of mothers and 54 percent of fathers were the primary income earner for their household prior to incarceration. At a macro level, more than 5 million children—or 1 in 14 minors in the United States—have had a parent incarcerated in prison or jail at some point during their lives. Children in poverty are three times more likely to have experienced the incarceration of a parent than are families with higher incomes, and children in rural areas are more likely to have experienced parental incarceration than children living in metropolitan areas. At the same time, children of the incarcerated are, on average, six times more likely to become incarcerated themselves, and 23 percent of children with a father who has served time behind bars have been expelled or suspended from school more often compared to 4 percent of children whose father has not been in prison or jail. Once inside a prison, men and women of all races do what they can to survive physically and emotionally because 95 percent of them will return to their communities one day. Tragically, too many of them return to prison after release. So, what can we do to address recidivism as well as the collateral consequences of incarceration on families, children, and society? For more than 50 years, lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures, philanthropists, educators, social entrepreneurs, and the formerly incarcerated have turned their attention to correctional education programs as a pathway of choice for self-improvement, to address recidivism, prepare for the workforce, or a combination thereof. Although public support for this approach is growing, prisoner rehabilitation through education remains one of the most contested ideas in criminal justice policy today. In this seminar, students will examine how legislative institutions, courts, executive agencies, and interest groups have shaped the provision of education inside prisons. We also will discuss a range of innovative models to address a big question at the center of a 234-year-old debate about crime and punishment in America: Are prisons designed for corporal punishment, human improvement, or a combination thereof? Students will be required to obtain a copy of Education for Liberation: The Politics of Promise and Reform Inside and Beyond America’s Prisons (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers), co-edited by Gerard Robinson and Elizabeth English Smith.

Course Requirements

Exam Information

Final Type (if any): None

Description: None

Written Work Product

Students may satisfy course requirements either by writing a series of short response papers throughout the course based on class readings (due directly to the instructor, not via EXPO), or by completing a substantial original research paper due via EXPO by noon on May 9th, the day before the last day of the exam period. 2L, 3L or LLM students wishing to use the long paper toward their Upper-Level Writing Requirement must submit a completed e-Form to SRO before Feb. 26th. The e-form is available via LawWeb.

Other Course Details

Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None

Exclusive With: None

Laptops Allowed: No

First Day Attendance Required: Yes

Course Resources: See course description.

Graduation Requirements

Satisfies Understanding Bias/Racism/Cross-Cultural Competency requirement: Yes

Satisfies Writing Requirement: No

Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No

Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

Additional Course Information

Schedule No.: 124217903

Modified Type: ABA Seminar

Cross Listed: No

Waitlist Count: 0

Concentrations: Criminal Justice , Education Law

Information reflected on this page was last refreshed at: Tuesday, June 18, 2024 - 9:26 AM *

*During open enrollment periods, live enrollment data may be found in SIS.