When campus life meets prison life

Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, Pa. - People in Huntingdon County are taking part in a program that's bringing two communities you'd least expect together. 

It's called the 'Inside Out' Program. 10 students from Juniata College and 10 inmates at State Correctional Institute Smithfield take an introductory college-level course in the same space: a maximum security prison. 

"This has definitely changed how I think about prisoners and prisons as a whole," Tzipora Crandell, a Juniata College junior said. 

Crandell admits to having stereotypes about all convicted felons being 'dangerous.'

"I just see different men, different ages, all working together," Crandell said. 

Both students and prisoners refer to each other on a first name basis in class, making them feel equal.

Lori Pompa, founder of the Inside Out Program, said it focuses on breaking the perception for those both outside and inside of the wall. 

"You bring people who are different together, allow them to enter into dialogue together," she said. "Instead of focusing on the differences between us, we start to see the ways that we connect, the ways that we are similar." 

Tyrone Werts works alongside Pompa traveling the country to speak about the Inside Out Program. 

It's the same program that helped him turn his life around when we spent 36 years in prison, earning college credit while serving his sentence. 

"I graduated with a bachelor's degree from Villanova University," Werts said. 

More than 30,000 students nationwide have participated in the Inside Out Program since its inception in 1997. 

 

 


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