Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program Graduates Share Experience

This fall, Gwynedd Mercy University’s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program graduated 14 outside and 11 inside students.

Senior Molly Fleming '23, one of GMercyU’s Criminal Justice students, participated in the program.

“Inside-Out was an experience like no other. I wish every student could have the opportunity to take this course. This class was extremely eye opening and provided me with incredible insight on the reality of prison life. Having the class in the prison and physically being with the inside students created such a unique learning atmosphere,” Molly said.

“This experience as a whole taught me far more than I would have ever anticipated. The lessons and knowledge I will take away are things I would never have been able to obtain if I was in a normal classroom setting and learning from textbooks. This is an experience I will always remember, and I am eager to see if I will be able to apply the valuable knowledge I have gained in my future career in Criminal Justice,” Molly shared.

You can learn more about the students experiences on the Phila Prison Department Facebook page in this video.

About the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

GMercyU’s program is designed to bring incarcerated and non-incarcerated students together to become peers in weekly meetings.

The program was started in 1997 and brought to GMercyU in 2019. It is an international educational program designed to inspire social change through the collaboration and dialogue of participants.

GMercyU’s “outside” students have the unique opportunity to meet “inside” students at the correctional facility where they exchange thoughts and perspectives about social inequalities, prison reform, and restorative justice.

“Realizing there’s another group of people just like you who were incarcerated because of different life circumstances is a truly transformative experience for students and instructors alike,” says Associate Professor and Criminal Justice Program Coordinator, Patrick McGrain, PhD. “You can’t get this kind of experience in the classroom or even through an internship.”