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Our Story

Choreographing Our Stories, Dancing the News

Our Story

Launched in 2018, the Justice Education Initiative builds on longstanding, pioneering work in prison and justice education by The Claremont Colleges faculty, staff and students. These pioneers include:

  • Susan Castagnetto is director of the Intercollegiate Feminist Center for Teaching, Research and Engagement and teaches philosophy and gender & women’s studies courses at Scripps and Pomona. In 2000, she organized a conference on women, prisons and criminal justice that led to many other justice-related programs at Scripps and The Claremont Colleges.  She organizes regular writing workshops for women at the California Institution for Women and Claremont Colleges students.  As a 2008 fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute, sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of California, she worked with others to pass a state bill extending the amount of time that incarcerated parents have to meet requirements for reuniting with their children in foster care.
  • Dipa Basu, Laura Harris and Barry Sanders are Pitzer College professors who founded a partnership with the juvenile probation facility Camp Afflerbaugh-Paige in La Verne, CA, in 2001. The same year, Professor Harris also founded a collegiate partnership with Prototypes, a women’s rehabilitation and recovery center, in Pomona, CA.
  • Nigel Boyle, Pitzer College dean of faculty, taught a version of his Soccer and Social Change course at the California Rehabilitation Center in 2013 and went on to develop the Pitzer Prison Education Initiative, which included co-teaching a course on soccer with Pitzer Professor Lako Tongun at maximum-security prison in Uganda in 2014.

Practicing Prison Education

Pitzer and Harvey Mudd Colleges participate in the Prison Education Project (PEP), a prison education program founded by Cal Poly Pomona Professor Renford Reese. Through PEP, Pitzer students volunteer as academic orientation facilitators or tutors in the prison’s pre-GED program,  and Harvey Mudd College students design curriculum and teach STEM subjects at local prisons.

In 2014, Pitzer College began holding Inside-Out courses at the California Rehabilitation Center. These courses are modeled on the Inside-Out Prison Education Program, which brings together “campus-based college students with incarcerated students for a semester-long course held in prison, jail or other correctional setting.”

Founded in 1997 by Temple University Professor Lori Pompa, the Inside-Out Prison Education Program now works with more than 100 colleges or universities. The Claremont Colleges Justice Education Initiative is one of very few programs of its kind to offer college credit that counts toward a BA for its prison-based courses.