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Alicia Blackmer ACF Abstract FY12

"Feelings of Punitiveness and Empathy among Inside Out Students"

2012 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) Annual Meeting: Sustainable Justice

Research has indicated that criminal justice students, particularly males, have a higher degree of punitiveness and lack the empathy trait. The purpose of this paper is to explore feelings of punitiveness and empathy among students who have participated in the Inside Out Prison Exchange Program. The Inside Out Program is a nationally-recognized program that has provided the framework for college courses to take place inside the walls of prisons and jails. The pedagogical approach calls for college and university students to study with residents of correctional facilities, behind the institutional walls. Throughout the 15-week semester, students are required to write reflection papers that detailed their observations, analyses, and reactions to the class sessions. To explore the concepts of punitiveness and empathy among these students, their reflection papers were analyzed to examine their feelings towards the inside students in particular, and punishment philosophy in general.