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Our Vision

To confront mass incarceration as a defining social problem of the contemporary era, The Claremont Colleges have launched the Justice Education Initiative. Supported by a $1.1 million grant awarded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Pitzer College, the Initiative will coordinate collaborative justice education programs across The Claremont Colleges, at regional carceral institutions and with local community partners.

Our Goals


  • a cohort of Claremont Colleges and Norco College students engaged with justice education through classes, study abroad experiences and community-based programs related to the criminal justice system
  • a new intercollegiate justice education academic program
  • more Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program courses and Insight Garden Program opportunities at regional carceral institutions


  • Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program courses at the California Rehabilitation Center and establish Inside-Out courses at the California Institution for Women
  • criminal justice education and policy community partnerships and projects
  • support for formerly and currently incarcerated students through Pitzer College’s New Resources Program


  • student learning and involvement in justice education
  • incarcerated students’ opportunities for enrollment in credit-earning courses for transfer and degree completion and re-entry support
  • public policy reform of California’s criminal justice system

Our Aims and Values

EDUCATE students on issues related to the criminal justice system and prison education through on-campus as well as semester-long, credit-bearing courses in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.
UNDERSTAND the deleterious impacts of mass incarceration and the adverse effects it has on the systems that lead into it and are impacted by it, such as local schools, communities and families.
CONNECT issues related to the criminal justice system and prison education through workshops, conferences, guest speakers, film series, and art exhibits at The Claremont Colleges.
IMAGINE a world where people’s needs are met and harm is prevented by addressing injustice, inequity, and violence as root conditions leading to incarceration; a world where we work together for justice and healing through restoration over punishment.
ACT with knowledge and power to push change in conversations, policies and systems that intersect with the problems of mass incarceration.

Our Plan

Supported by a five-year Mellon Foundation grant, the Justice Education Initiative launched in fall 2018. The Initiative’s long-term, multiphase plan envisions an ongoing, sustainable program that marshals the power of higher education to tackle the problem of mass incarceration.

Year 1 (2018-19) Community planning process to develop intercollegiate justice education programs, projects and partners

Years 2-5 (2019-23) Implement new and support existing curricular and co-curricular programs and activities that link Claremont Colleges undergraduates and faculty, community partners and local carceral institutions in a unified educational and social change mission

Year 6 and Beyond Sustain the integration of justice education into The Claremont Colleges’ academic and co-curricular offerings while continuing to develop new partnerships and opportunities for student and community engagement

Our Team

Tyee Griffith is the founding manager of the Justice Education Initiative. In this role, Griffith oversees Inside-Out Prison Exchange classes, co-curricular justice-related activities, prison policy efforts and community-campus partnerships. Previously, Griffith worked with the Prison Education Project at Cal Poly Pomona, where she served as the program coordinator for PEP’s Reintegration Academy and as a career counselor. She earned her BA in sociology at Cal State LA, and her master’s in public administration at Cal Poly Pomona.  She is currently a political science doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University.

Nigel Boyle is the lead dean of the Justice Education Initiative. A professor of political studies at Pitzer College, Boyle is the dean of faculty and vice president for academic affairs.

Tessa Hicks Peterson is an associate professor of urban studies and assistant vice president of community engagement at Pitzer, and served as the Inside-Out faculty liaison from 2014 to 2018. In her new role as director of the  Office of Consortial Academic Collaboration (OCAC), she oversees the Justice Education Initiative, which orchestrates academic collaboration and administrative support for this intercollegiate effort across The Claremont Colleges.

The Claremont Colleges Justice Education Working Group was established in 2017 to develop an integrated consortium-wide justice education program at The Claremont Colleges. Composed of faculty, staff and administrative representatives from across the colleges, the members of the working group are:

  • Suchi Branfman, Lecturer in Dance and Choreographer, Scripps College
  • Susan Castagnetto, Director of the Intercollegiate Feminist Center, Scripps College
  • Jessica S. Cobb, Director of Next Phase Program, Norco College
  • Gabriela Gamiz, Director, Community Engagement, Harvey Mudd College
  • Tyee Griffith, Program Manager for Justice Education Initiative, Pitzer College
  • Tessa Hicks-Peterson, Director of the Office for Consortial Academic Collaboration, The Claremont Colleges
  • Dan Livesay, Associate Professor of History, Claremont McKenna College
  • Erin M. Runions, Chair of Religious Studies, Pomona College
  • Derik Smith, Associate Professor of Literature, Claremont McKenna College
  • Jessica Tinklenberg, Program Director, Claremont Colleges Center for Teaching and Learning
Our Consortium

The Claremont Colleges is a consortium of five undergraduate liberal arts colleges (Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona and Scripps) and two graduate institutions (Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute), offering rigorous curricula, small classes, distinguished professors and personalized instruction in a vibrant residential college community that provides intensive interaction between students and faculty.

Our Supporters

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.  To this end, the foundation supports exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.