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Learning/Innovation  

Prison Initiative

ESG Prison Initiative at MIT

The ESG Prison Initiative is a unique and transformative educational experience for MIT students. Courses are conducted inside secure correctional facilities throughout Massachusetts, where MIT students learn course content alongside incarcerated students. Learning within the confines of a correctional facility challenges students to examine and engage in dialogue about criminal justice ideologies. Students are also provided with additional opportunities to participate in special events at correctional facilities. This program has proven to be a meaningful and life-changing experience for both students and justice-involved individuals.

Subjects offered as part of the initiative include:

  • Self and Soul (L. Perlman)
  • Philosophy of Love (L. Perlman)
  • Non-Violence as a Way of Life (L. Perlman)
  • Urban Sociology in the Context of Mass Incarceration (Justin Steil)
  • Writing in Prison (D. Dormitzer)

In addition to the teaching of subjects in correctional facilities, other activities include:

  • Fostering the formation of a student prison education and reform group that is now launching on-campus events, designing the mini-courses and organizing a student teaching team
  • Organizing a debate between the MIT Debate Team and the Debating Society at MCI Norfolk, as well as the Harvard Team and MCI Norfolk
  • Recruiting and supporting MIT tutors and Teaching Assistants for other courses taught in prisons and jails
  • Presenting a speaker series in conjunction with the student prison education group

For more information about the MIT prison initiative, please contact Carole Caffery, Program Administrator, or Lee Perlman, Program Director.  Phone inquiries can be made at 617-452-4530.