Hannah Pogue, Rewriting Education in Prison

Hannah Pogue met a group of female inmate teaching assistants at the Utah Department of Corrections who wanted to do something a little different with their outdated Life Skills curriculum. Together, they are updating the lessons to be more engaging and relevant.

“We are focusing on restructured lessons plans that emphasize personal growth and emotional maturation by introducing different and varied concepts, critical ways of thinking, and alternative sources of knowledge in order to break new ground in prison curriculum development,” Hannah said. “In the short term, this project will improve the independent thinking and social structures within the prison, because the inmates are developing their own curriculum. In the long term, this positive self-redetermination will empower these women to live productive and healthy lives.”

The teaching assistants are divvying up the lessons and updating them with personal experiences and research, as well as hands-on activities. For instance, during a lesson on parenting, the students did a project where they developed games and children’s books. The results were creative, intricate and beautiful, Hannah said, and she would someday like to market those ideas for the inmates’ benefits.

Funds from the Pollination Project will go toward alternative educational materials, like supplies for projects and posters.

GRANT AWARD DATE: August 4, 2014