Partnership for Religion and Education in Prisons

Through the Partnership for Religion and Education in Prisons (PREP) program, theology students and prison inmates sit together in faculty-led courses inside New Jersey correctional facilities, exploring profound social and theological questions as equal participants and mutual learners. Together, inside students and outside students create a dynamically different classroom, one illuminated by radically different perspectives and life histories.

Background

PREP is a distinctive feature of Drew’s curriculum that creates opportunities for a joint learning environment between theological students and students within New Jersey State correctional facilities. Our program is the application of a model that was initiated in Nashville, TN, by Harmon Wray, Dr. Richard Goode, and Rev. Janet Wolf in 2002, and implemented at Drew by alumna Margaret Querns Atkins. PREP forges new partnerships between places of theological learning, organizations with educational programs in the prisons, and correctional facilities.

Types of Courses

Courses from all areas of the Theological School’s curriculum have been offered at two New Jersey prisons, Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for women, and Northern State Prison for men. We offer a course in each prison every fall and spring semester. The following are a sample of courses we have offered:

  • Biblical Literature 2: Gospels, Epistles, Apocalypse
  • Ethically Responding to Violence against Women
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God: Women’s Expressions of Religion, Gender, and Race in Works of Fiction
  • Search for the Good Community
  • Letters and Sermons from Prison
  • Western Christian Ethics—Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Social Gospel
  • Biblical Studies—Mary Magdalene
  • Theology of Redemption
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