LAW 5679: Reimagining Policing & Public Safety-Inside Out Prison Exchange Program - 2224

Reimagining Policing & Public Safety-Inside Out Prison Exchange Program
Class Term:
Spring Term 2021-2022
Catalog Number:


3 (3 Contact, 0 Field)
Limited Enrollment - 3rd Year Priority
Full Year Course:
Special Permission Enrollment Courses - Enrollment in this course requires special permission. See the enrollment information for the section or contact the Registrar for more information.

Additional Information

 Because most class sessions take place at a regional correctional institution, students must be prepared to travel approximately ten times to the facility, to be present in the facility for several hours at a time, and to comply with all institutional security requirements and course rules, which necessarily go beyond standard course rules.  These rules involve matters that include proper dress in the prison and the regulation of conduct that would not seem at all unusual on a college campus.  (See syllabus for these rules.)  Failure to comply with these requirements may result in dismissal from the course.  Students will also be required to apply in writing for admission to the course, and to undergo a short interview with the instructor. Application and interview must be completed prior to a deadline set prior to registration – deadline to be announced

Grading Details

  1. Weekly three-page Reflection Papers, which are required to be completed before each class session (25 percent of grade). Writing these papers will require active attention and participation in class sessions, and careful and attentive reading of the weekly assignments; reflection papers must comment upon and analyze both.
  2. Class participation (25 percent of grade), which includes participation in class group project
  3. A final paper of twelve to fifteen pages (50 percent of grade).


This course will explore issues arising around policing, and ask students to re-imagine our entire concept of public safety using the Inside-Out method of instruction.  In recent history, any discussion of public safety was always a discussion of policing and often little else.  The course will begin by recognizing that idea and its history, and ask students to take a broader look at the whole concept of safety without limiting themselves to policing.  This concept may require some level traditional policing, but what else?  What is necessary to create public safety for everyone?  The course will bring together students from the School of Law (and perhaps undergraduates from the University of Pittsburgh) with students who are incarcerated at a regional correctional institution to study together, with most class sessions taking place at the institution.  Students will confront and re-think such topics as the causes of crime; mass incarceration; penal systems; policing agencies; the war on drugs; handling crises related to mental health, homelessness, and drug addiction; the recruiting and training of police; and accountability for police misconduct.  Students will use reading and group discussions as well as writing assignments to bring together theoretical knowledge and learning, lived experience, and the experience gained in the class.  The Inside-Out method emphasizes collaboration and dialogue facilitated by the instructor, which invites all participants in the class to address topics under discussion with a willingness to discuss things with honesty and integrity and learn from each other.  Students should anticipate that they will have the opportunity to test and sharpen their understanding of criminal justice issues, in an environment that will depend upon an honest exchange of ideas through real dialogue.  In doing so, we will create real connection between students on the outside, and students on the inside.

Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program