The Justice Education Initiative at The Claremont Colleges Holds Its First Academic Conference at Pitzer College

Claremont, Calif. (April 26, 2022)—The Justice Education Initiative at The Claremont Colleges will hold its inaugural conference, Inside Perspectives Guiding Outside Action, both in person at Pitzer College and virtually on April 28 and April 29. Planned and organized by currently and formerly incarcerated students, the conference aims to amplify the voices of those directly impacted by the criminal legal system, while highlighting the importance of higher education, healing, peace and reconciliation, advocacy, and abolition.

Held in commemoration of the 30-year anniversary of the Watts Truce, the Justice Education Conference will spotlight best practices for advancing higher education and healing in prisons, including Inside-Out pedagogy that brings campus-based and incarcerated college students together in the prison classroom to learn from and with one another.

A series of panels and discussions throughout the conference will feature members of the Pitzer community and scholars from across The Claremont Colleges, including Kenneth Butler ’22 and Reggie Bullock ’22, who count count among the first participants in Pitzer’s Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA program, and Pitzer professors Barbara Junisbai and Tessa Hicks-Peterson, who have taught Inside-Out courses. These courses bring “inside” incarcerated students and “outside” campus-based students together to take the same college classes with the same professors in the same classroom.

According to organizers, the conference aims to explore the barriers that “inside” students face while incarcerated and the unique challenges they experience while integrating back into society. The two-day event will also highlight reconciliation efforts and grassroots movements toward individual and collective peace.

Additionally, the Justice Education Conference will explore California’s changing criminal legal system and strategies for transforming approaches to justice and safety, along with the impact of technology and the application of algorithms intended to reduce racial bias and incarceration. Conference organizers say they hope to create a space for all attendees to collaborate, share resources and best practices, and explore effective approaches to building robust systems of education and care both within and beyond prison walls.

Officially inaugurated in 2018, the Justice Education Initiative is the product of over 25 years of pathbreaking work in prison education at The Claremont Colleges. Supported by a $1.1 million grant awarded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to Pitzer College, the Initiative facilitates the first in-prison bachelor’s degree pathway in the US based on an Inside-Out model and coordinates collaborative justice education programs across The Claremont Colleges, at regional carceral institutions, and with local community partners.

This conference is open to the public and will be hosted on Pitzer’s campus with the option to join virtually. People can register for in-person tickets here and virtual tickets here. All on-campus participants must follow Pitzer’s health guidelines, including masking in indoor spaces and completing the Healthy Pitzer screening when coming to campus. Unique Zoom links will be emailed to all registered participants.

For more information, contact Michael Griggs ’21 at mgriggs@students.pitzer.edu or see the Pitzer College events calendar.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

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