Prison Education

Graduate students in the Department of Philosophy at Western Michigan University are developing a Prison Education Outreach Program, providing content modeled after traditional college courses to incarcerated individuals at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, MI. 

Sessions we have offered thus far include:

  •  Critical Thinking (Fall 2018);
  •  Introduction to Ethics (Spring 2019); and
  •  Education and Human Flourishing (Fall 2019)
  •  Ethical and Social Theory (Spring 2020)

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the MDOC is not allowing visitors or volunteers into any of its facilities.  Accordingly, we have suspended the Ethical and Social course at the Lakeland facility until further notice.

The program’s mission is to educate, challenge, and inspire program participants to achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals. Additionally, graduate student mentors are offered an excellent opportunity to develop pedagogical skills by mentoring a diverse population in a non-traditional classroom setting.

The long-term goal of the program is to have both graduate students and faculty from multiple disciplines at WMU teach credit-bearing college courses to incarcerated students at the Lakeland facility. For media coverage, see this article on MLive. See also this Stateside documentary (“When You’re Inside” and “How to be a Parent” feature participants from the Prison Education Outreach Program). For more information, contact Mr. Dale Brown. The faculty supervisor is Dr. Fritz Allhoff.

Support for the program has been generously provided by the Department of Philosophy, The College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate College, and the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.