Shadows of students against a brick wall and chainlink fence
March 30, 2021

Pitt Magazine Feature on the Pitt Prison Education Project

To get to class each week, Matthew Broocke and 15 of his peers boarded a van in Pittsburgh and traveled nearly 50 miles south, beside the winding path of the Monongahela River, to a place few...

"Write Now!" a guide by and for incarcerated writers title
February 23, 2021

Write Now! A Guide By and For Incarcerated Writers

In 2019, inside student Pierre and others said "we don't want to hoard knowledge, we want to share the wealth." So when Covid-19 hit and in-person classes were suspended, professors Cory Holding...

Photograph of Inside-Out Literature Course Students
January 22, 2020

Closing Ceremony of Pitt Literature Course Held at Laurel Highlands

On Dec. 9, 2019, SCI Laurel Highlands held the closing ceremony celebrating the successful completion of an Inside Out Literature course entitled "Imagining Social Justice," led by University of Pittsburgh faculty member Prof. Shalini Puri. Deputy Superintendent for Facilities Management Robert Snyder, who delivered some closing words, as well as Principal Martha Boyer and several teachers in the GED program, were present at the occasion.

Students perform a collaborative poem about the shooting of Antwon Rose written by inside students.
December 5, 2019

Poems from prison: Students share incarcerated voices

The performative sparring was part of an event called Clear & Present Stranger: Words from Incarcerated Writers, which packed City of Asylum on Wednesday night, with more than 100 people in...

Photograph of Professor Adriana Helbig at a piano
November 6, 2019

‘Prison Sounds’ courses explore music born in and about incarceration

Music department faculty member Adriana Helbig has turned her knowledge of music from around the world and of hip hop’s infusion into different global cultures into four new “Prison Sounds”...

Lacresha Berry performs at Inside-Out Class
October 23, 2019

Guest Performer Presents to Laurel Highlands Inside-Out Class

The Pitt Prison Education Project brought Lacresha Berry, a New York City actress, director, writer and teacher to SCI Laurel Highlands. For the Inside-Out course, "Imagining Social Justice," Berry performed a snippet of "Tubman," her one-woman show. "Tubman" highlights what would happen if Harriet Tubman was a student in a Harlem pubic school today.

Photograph of Pitt students with Prof. Puri and Superintendent Capozza
April 22, 2019

Inside-Out Graduation Ceremony Held

On April 16, the most-recently offered 12-week Inside-Out course "Literature of the Americas: Maps of the Missing" held its graduation ceremony. The "graduates" were 16 outside undergraduate students from the University of Pittsburgh and 15 inside SCI Fayette inmate students. 

Pitt Panther Statue
July 12, 2018

First Pitt Seed Project Awards Fund 23 Projects for ‘Transformation’

The inaugural Pitt Seed program has awarded up to $50,000 each for 23 proposals from Pitt faculty and staff members. These projects, chosen from 171 applicants, are designed in a manner that “...

Students and inmates meet at the State Correctional Institution in Fayette County as part of the Pitt Prison Education Project a program funded by a Pitt Seed Project grant. (Photo courtesy of Shalini Puri)
July 11, 2018

Pitt professors pursue new projects with Pitt Seed grants

Pitt is investing in change this summer, beginning with projects from professors at the University. The first-ever Pitt Seed Project awarded a total of more than $1 million to 23 programs designed...

Pitt senior Joshua Hanley (standing, in blue) during a presentation on felon disenfranchisement in Pitt's Race and the Criminal Justice System class.
March 28, 2018

Undergraduates Learn Alongside Inmates in Pilot Year of Prison Education Initiative

A capstone seminar course — with more writing and a narrower focus than a typical college class — can be daunting for any student.

The course can be even more challenging with no internet...

A group of women gather at the Sojourners House in Pittsburgh as part of the Words Without Walls program. Courtesy of Words Without Walls
April 18, 2017

Education and incarceration: teaching classes in prisons

After serving two years in prison, and later being arrested in front of her 4-month-old daughter, Sarah Womack turned to prose and poetry to stage her comeback.