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UW to Host Education in Prison Conference March 29-30

March 5, 2019
Damon Horowitz and Jody Lewen

Advancing the field of education in prison and efforts to support formerly incarcerated people in their transition to freedom is the purpose of the University of Wyoming’s Symposium on Transformative Education in Prison and Beyond.

The two-day, solution-oriented conference will consist of various panel discussions, interactive workshops and keynote addresses by leaders in the field. The free event is March 29-30 in the UW Conference Center.

“The symposium grew out of conversations about the power of philosophy and the humanities to make a transformative, lasting impact in the incarcerated population, especially as a companion to relevant job training, and was truly brought to life by a generous award from the UW College of Arts and Sciences,” says Alec Muthig, one of the symposium organizers. “We expanded this idea of transformative education to other areas and are excited to host an international-caliber, collaborative event that we hope will lead to more life-changing opportunities in prison.” 

Damon Horowitz and Jody Lewen are scheduled keynote speakers.

Horowitz is a philosophy professor and serial entrepreneur, working at the intersection of technology and the humanities. He recently served as consulting philosopher at AltSchool, a B-corporation focused on using technology to bring personalized progressive education to a broader population. Previously, he was in-house philosopher/director of engineering at Google, leading a companywide personalization initiative with a focus on data privacy issues. He also has taught philosophy coursework to prisoners in California.

Lewen is the founder and executive director of the Prison University Project, which operates the college program at San Quentin State Prison in California. The program provides a general education Associate of Arts degree and intensive college preparatory courses to about 350 incarcerated people. The Prison University Project also provides training and technical assistance to colleges offering higher education programs in prisons throughout California and across the United States.

Panelists are national and international experts in the field. Panel topics include: insights from the Wyoming Department of Corrections, and currently and formerly incarcerated students; philosophy in prison; jail writing programs; transformative technology; theories, practices and challenges in higher education in prison programs; and success beyond reduced recidivism.

“We are extremely pleased to be hosting an event of this caliber at UW,” says Rob Colter, associate lecturer in philosophy and another of the event’s organizers. “It is a wonderful opportunity to make connections with people doing this work around the country and world, to make progress on challenges and successes, and to share the value of our efforts with a broader audience.”

The symposium is co-hosted by UW’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and Wyoming Pathways from Prison, which previously partnered to bring stoicism programming to Wyoming correctional facilities. Primary funding is through the College of Arts and Sciences, with additional support by the Social Justice Research Center; Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research; School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice; Department of English; College of Education; College of Law Defender Aid Clinic; and the national Correctional Education Association.

Preregistration for this free event is highly encouraged. For more information and to register, visit

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