Convict Criminology | College Courses
Convict Criminology is now being taught in
universities and prisons. The "convict criminology perspective" may be used as part or all of
a course. Selected works of the group may be used to teach an entire course. The perspective
is especially well suited for undergraduate or graduate programs doing research on prison,
community re-entry, or placing student interns in correctional facilities or parole service
agencies. Intellectually, the reading introduces the prisoner view-point as preparation for
students who might be interested in careers in corrections.
Inviting Convicts to College Program
Free college level courses entitled "Convict Criminology" or "Inviting Convicts to College" are
being taught by undergraduate student teachers inside a number of medium and maximum-security
prisons (Rose et al, 2005; Richards et al, 2006; Richards and Ross, 2007). The courses are free
as there is no reassignment of faculty. Instead, all the classes are taught by pairs of
undergraduate criminal justice students. The university students receive internship credits and
learn to teach, writing their course syllabi, giving lectures, exams, and grading their own class
of prisoner-students. Meanwhile, the faculty supervise student intern teachers at multiple prison
The book Convict Criminology is used to inspire prisoners. The convict students read the
autobiographical stories of prisoners becoming criminology professors. The book demonstrates how
prisoners can use their time in prison to prepare for college, by reading serious books and
planning a new future. The courses serve as a bridge for prisoners to exit prison and enter
college. In the final weeks of the course the student teachers help prisoners complete college
admission and financial aid forms.
The new model includes a number of innovative ideas. The classes are free, because undergraduate
or graduate students can teach them. University departments that include student internship
programs may find our model an attractive idea for placing students as classroom instructors in
prison. Deploying students in this fashion means universities do not incur the expense of
reassigning faculty to teach the courses. The faculty members, in turn, are free to supervise a
number of internships, including multiple placements of student interns in different prisons.
The model can spread and be employed easily at no expense in many prisons across the country
(Rose, et al, 2005). To review the Inviting Convicts to College Program published in the Journal of Offender Rehabilitation or watch an introduction to "Inviting Convicts to College" select the appropriate links below. Get more
information on the Inviting Convicts to College Program at the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Inviting Convicts to College Program by Rose, Chris, Kristin Reschenberg, Stephen C. Richards (2010); The Journal of Offender Rehabilitation
Volume 49: 293-308, 2010
Abstract: While we know formal education is an important variable for
reducing recidivism, there are few prison systems still offering college
courses. We introduce the Inviting Convicts to College Program
that deploys undergraduate student-teachers as instructors of college
level courses inside prisons. The student-teachers are supervised
by professors. The course taught is Convict Criminology. This article
describes the program, and uses quantitative and qualitative
methods to assess four semesters taught at a medium-security state
prison. The methodology uses both a survey and focused interviews
of prisoners and student teachers. Findings indicate the program
goals were met, and the courses taught served as valuable educational
experiences for convicts and student-teachers.
Convict Criminology: Voices From Prison by Stephen C. Richards, Donald Faggiani, Jed Roffers, Richard Hendricksen, and Jerrick Krueger (2008). Race/Ethnicity 2, (1) 121-136
Abstract: Today, more than two million men and women reside
in our nation's jails and prisons. This population is
disproportionately black and brown, while those
who attend universities are nearly exclusively white. The drug
war has devastated minority communities and has contributed
to a dramatic increase in the rate of incarceration for people of
color (Miller, 1996; Austin et al., 2001). In this article, we discuss
the following topics: convict criminology perspective, inviting
convicts to college programs, convicts as "invisible" minorities,
minorities in prisons, and correctional education and recidivism.
The Convict Criminology course is taught at one university
and two state prisons. A ten-question survey was administered
to the three classes. The respondents' replies are provided
as a means for comparing university and convict students' perceptions
and thoughts about the course they completed. As
simply as possible, we have outlined one way that universities
can help prisoners to exit prison and enter college.
View PBS Documentary Video on the "Inviting Convicts to College Program": UW-Oshkosh Department of Criminal Justice
View Video: "Beyond Bars: Rejoining Society After Prison" with Stephen C. Richards, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen C. Richards, professor of criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, sat down with Production Director Heather Burian of WisconsinEye to promote his newest book
Beyond Bars: Rejoining Society After Prison. Richards explained his experience in prison gave him further insight into the criminal justice system and is living proof ex-convicts can be
successful after serving out their sentence. WisconsinEye also met with Bobby Ayala, a current inmate at Redgranite Correctional Institute who said he was inspired by Richards success.
Ayala added he is taking college courses in prison in hope of one day, he too will be able to have a career beyond bars.
View in external player: Interview with Dr. Stephen C. Richards
View Video: Redgranite Correctional Institution
While promoting his newest book Beyond Bars: Rejoining Society After Prison, Dr. Stephen C. Richards, a Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, said all
convicts deserve a second chance. Richard's book explores the lives of Joe and Jill Convict as they leave prison and try to reintegrate into the community as ex-convicts. On December
23, 2009, Richards invited WisconsinEye to hear his speech at Redgranite Correctional Institute where he explained a felon should never let his past behaviors hinder his future.
View in external player: Redgranite Correctional Institution
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