Incarcerated VOICE Initiative
The Incarcerated VOICE Initiative: Visualizing Opportunities in Correctional Education, was established in Coastal Carolina University's (CCU) Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences and Department of Sociology in 2022 as an extension of SOC 440: The Jail Experience course. The Incarcerated VOICE is a hub for community partners like J. Reuben Long Detention Center, the South Carolina Department of Corrections, Life Recovery Solutions, and other local aid organizations to pair with campus leaders to provide educational opportunities and resources for incarcerated individuals and real-world experiences for campus-based students in the criminal justice and corrections systems.
The Incarcerated VOICE Initiative serves as a resource for faculty interested in teaching classes at J. Reuben Long Detention Center, researchers interested in better understanding the experiences of incarcerated people, campus students planning on careers in sociology, criminology, criminal justice, and the law, and incarcerated and formerly incarcerated local residents seeking educational resources. The mission of the Incarcerated VOICE Initiative is to build strong relationships, solid research, helpful resources, and accessible opportunities to make education a realistic and reachable goal for people in our community experiencing incarceration.
Learn more about that class from Dr. Schlosser's talk at TEDxCoastalCarolinaUniversity here. View videos from CCU featuring SOC 440: The Jail Experience Class of 2021 and Class of 2020, as well as a news story from WDPE about the course.
SOC 440: The Jail Experience Student Testimonials (Class of 2021)
I am from North Charleston, South Carolina, and my major at CCU is Intelligence and Security Studies with a minor in Social Justice. I have enjoyed this class throughout the whole semester and it is probably one of the best classes I have ever taken at CCU. Just getting the chance to hear the experiences and share a classroom with the people who are incarcerated really opened up my eyes. It provided me with an experience that I will never forget and made me feel as though I made some true connections interacting with them.
I am currently trying to change my life in the Life Recovery Solutions program. I enjoy playing sports, playing video games, going to new places and spending time with family and friends. I was given the chance to take Dr. Schlosser’s sociology class and I said "yes" immediately, jumping at the chance to learn, take a college class and try something new. I have learned about social psychology, rationality, cognitive dissonance, the looking-glass self, the different types of identities, social constructs, and much more. I would like to thank Dr. Schlosser and Mr. Dustin for giving me the opportunity to take a real college class with real students at Costal Carolina University. I see myself doing great things after the program. I would like to go back to school, get a job I love doing, and start a family. Basically, living a sober, prosocial life.
I am from Camden, SC. I like to play football and watch sports. I boxed for eight years and played football for two. I decided to take the CCU Jail Experience class because I have never been able to experience anything like it before and wanted to try something new. I learned that the campus students aren’t really any different then I am. My dream is to become a drug addiction counselor. I plan on staying down here and going to the recovery residence until I get my life on track.
I am a Sociology major, and I took this class because there is no other class offered to us like this. I took it to learn about topics I had never heard about before and to experience something new. My goal in taking this class was to learn about similarities between people that otherwise, would have never met. From the amazing lectures to the one-on-one meetings, I think this class taught me everything I expected and more. If you’re someone who is thinking about participating in this class, I highly recommend. It opens your eyes to things you never would have thought about previously.
I took the CCU Jail Experience class because I was interested in learning about the human mind and I wanted to be a part of something positive for once. Usually, it’s not an option in a jail setting. Plus, we are one of the first classes of our kind, and that makes me excited. I love to cook; it’s my passion, so in the future I want to own my own sandwich shop followed into retirement with a bed and breakfast. I have learned a lot, like scientific method, rationality - which means to act logically and weigh the pros and cons - and how incarcerated people can change prison policy. I analyzed differences and similarities between us and the CCU students. We also learned about the looking-glass self, learned identities and how labels have meaning behind them, and social constructs. I am grateful for this class, and I hope it continues through the years to come to help more inmates feel more like normal people once again. Thank you, Dustin, and Dr. Schlosser.
If you're interested in becoming involved with Incarcerated VOICE, contact:
Jennifer Schlosser, PhD
Director, The Incarcerated VOICE Initiative
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Coastal Carolina University
Dustin Walters, BS, ADC, CPSS
J. Reuben Long Detention Center
Director of Treatment