Teaching Ethics to Prisoners

Patricia E. Erickson, Canisius College

At three prisons in New York State, I taught a course, Ethics and Human Services, to prisoners pursuing their college degree. Drawing on the work of Paulo Freire, I describe an approach to the development of critical consciousness of prisoner-students using both instructor and student reflexivity. I consider how "making problematic" one's social and cultural reality and engaging in open, reflexive dialogue can result in benefits for the instructor as well as students. I describe these benefits in terms of classroom dialogue that developed between prisoner-students and the instructor.

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Updated 05/20/2006