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Education Behind the Wall

Why and How We Teach College in Prison

Edited by Mneesha Gellman

This book seeks to address some of the major issues faced by faculty and administrators who provide college classes for incarcerated students. Composed of a series of case studies and essays which showcase the strengths and challenges of teaching a range of different disciplines in prison, this volume brings together scholars who articulate some of the best practices for teaching their expertise inside alongside honest reflections on the reality of educational implementation in a constrained environment. The book not only provides essential guidance for faculty interested in developing their own courses to teach in prisons, but also places the work of higher education in prisons in philosophical context with regards to racial, economic, social, and gender-based issues. Rather than solely a how-to handbook, this volume also helps readers think through the trade-offs that happen when teaching in prison, and about how to ensure the full integrity of college access for incarcerated students.

Paper: $35 | Cloth: $90 | E-book: $34.95
ISBN-13: 9781684581061
Pages: 248 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: September 13, 2022
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Important at both a theoretical and practical level, this is necessary reading whether you are a veteran of prison instruction or you are only now considering the prospect of prison teaching.

Mary Fainsod KatzensteinEmerita, Cornell University Department of Government

Reviews

  • Why teach in prison, how to teach in prison, who is taught in prison—these are the compelling questions that motivate the superb essays in Education Behind the Wall. Important at both a theoretical and practical level, this is necessary reading whether you are a veteran of prison instruction or you are only now considering the prospect of prison teaching.

    Mary Fainsod Katzenstein
    Emerita, Department of Government, Cornell University
  • From a resounding forward by Lee Pelton that grounds the importance of college in prison in the bonds between education and democracy, to Mneesha Gellman’s ethically nuanced and politically savvy closing argument, Gellman and her collaborators have given us a superb book that asks the tough questions about why to do this work, and it offers a host of practical answers on how to do it well.

    Daniel Karpowitz
    Assistant Commissioner, MN DOC & Special Advisor to Governor Tim Walz
  • When you go to prison, it is rare to get a second chance. This book shows why college in prison is so important. The chapters reveal not only opportunities for higher learning, but pathways to change lives.

    John Yang
    former Emerson Prison Initiative student
  • In "Education Behind the Wall," the authors focus on introducing the reader to key issues and processes in these dynamic institutions — higher education and prisons — and suggest more humane approaches to learning and living productively in both.

    Fulbright Chronicles

About the Author

Mneesha Gellman

Mneesha Gellman is associate professor of political science in the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College. She is the founder and director of the Emerson Prison Initiative, which brings a BA pathway to incarcerated students at state prisons in Massachusetts. Gellman is the editor of Education Behind the Wall: Why and How We Teach College in Prison (2022). Gellman is the author of Indigenous Language Politics in the Schoolroom: Cultural …