Over 60 graduates from the “Inside Out” Ethics Class on Religion, Poverty and Justice as well as the Criminal/Restorative Justice class celebrated the 11th graduation in the history of the program on May 6. One of the poems presented at the ceremony was written and performed by Belmont Social Entrepreneurship student Austin Sauerbrei.
The Inside Out Program at the Charles Bass Correctional Complex Annex was started in 2005 and is a program supported by faculty at American Baptist College, Belmont University and the Parents in Prison program. The focus of Inside Out, according to the graduation program, “is the creation of a learning community through mutuality and partnership so that insiders and outsiders learn from and with each other. This effectively challenges stereotypes and assumptions and invites everyone to reconsider their understanding of crime and justice in America.” Andi Stepnick (Sociology) and Andy Watts (Religion) teach and support the work of Inside Out with faculty colleagues from the American Baptist College.
Student class projects included “Hot Diggety Dog” and “Dress to Impress” among others. The Hot Diggety Dog group worked on creating a hot dog selling business to employ graduates. The Dress to Impress group provided clothing for men on work release in conjunction with Nashville Works in supplying clothing.