Toward Abolition Pedagogy: Teaching Social Justice in Prison Combined Classrooms
Keywords:Combined classes, Inside-Out classes, prison higher education, penal abolition, critical pedagogy
AbstractCombined classes have emerged as a component of secondary education in prisons, and bring undergraduates from â€œoutsideâ€ together with incarcerated students. They provide a context in which to encourage engaged dialogue, as well as a forum for cross-cultural exchange between the non-incarcerated and the incarcerated. Understanding penal abolitionism as a continuum, we argue here for the necessity of critical, penal abolitionist pedagogy in combined classes in prisons. In a political climate fraught with challenges to democracy, and ongoing racial injustice, a penal abolitionist pedagogy must engage the socially responsive, civically minded and transformative mission of education. We explore the challenges of using abolition pedagogy inside the prison setting and acknowledge the limitations of critical education in prison and elsewhere to achieve racial justice and abolition. We also offer examples from coursework that encourage students from very different social positions engage theories of justice and liberation in dialogue.
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