Captive audience

SLU degree program pairs guards and inmates
Classes are expected to start in January, with 20 inmates and 20 prison staffers. Prisoners will take their classes on-site, while staff members will use a combination of online and on-site class work. And occasionally, the two groups will find themselves learning together. It's something that fits one of the program's goals, which is to help inmates and guards develop a better understanding of the other, said Kenneth Parker, theology professor and founder of the SLU Prison Initiative.

"Our primary interest concerns changing the prison culture," Parker said.

Too often, he said, prisoners are viewed as being something worse than those who live outside the prison walls. "But when I close the classroom doors, they are like the guys I meet on (the SLU) campus."


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