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Eastern Kentucky University and the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced today a new Inside-Out partnership agreement, the first in the state, to provide EKU criminal justice students a more hands-on learning experience while also providing current inmates a chance to learn in a college environment without leaving custody.

Dr. James David Lawson, EKU lecturer for the Inside-Out agreement, said that the Inside-Out class “will offer a unique partnership with the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) at Manchester. Students will see the criminal justice and correctional systems at work firsthand, while also being an integral facet of current re-entry methods.”

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program ( is a national educational initiative with an innovative pedagogical approach tailored to effectively facilitate dialogue across difference. It originated as a means of bringing together campus-based students with incarcerated students for a semester-long course held in a prison, jail or some other correctional setting.

While more and more learning is taking place in the virtual world, EKU has committed to retaining the value of face-to-face teaching and real-world environments for its students.

"The College of Justice and Safety, EKU’s Program of Distinction, remains committed to staying at the forefront of criminal justice, corrections, and police studies education throughout and beyond our region,” including providing access to non-traditional students through flexible hybrid class schedules,” said Stephen Kappeler, School of Justice Studies Criminal Justice Program coordinator for regional campuses and sites.  

Dr. Ryan Wilson, senior director of regional programming, added that the University “is always looking for opportunities to partner with communities in our 22-county service region. EKU’s Regional Criminal Justice Program partnering with the FCI Manchester for the Inside-Out Program is a perfect example of being a good partner in our region.”

Included in this partnership is an ongoing agreement to allow EKU faculty to offer course instruction inside FCI Manchester directly to current inmates as well as EKU students.

FCI Manchester houses approximately 1,100 male offenders.

Dr. Victor Kappeler, dean of EKU’s College of Justice and Safety, emphasized the hands-on nature of an Inside-Out classroom environment. “This partnership offers EKU students practical learning opportunities in a career environment,” he said, “and demonstrates EKU’s forward-looking stance in the fields of corrections and criminal justice.

“EKU offers a top undergraduate degree in criminal justice alongside a commitment to social justice at large and the empowering value of education for all groups of people. EKU is shaping the criminal justice landscape for future generations and will continue its tradition of excellence.”

For additional information on the partnership or the criminal justice degree program at EKU, contact Stephen Kappeler at or 859-622-6710, or visit