The Alliance Education Department operates an innovative full-immersion Social Justice course open to the general incarcerated population of San Quentin. For four months, four days a week, participants engage in experiential exercises, lectures, and class discussions on differing concepts of social justice.
The course exposes participants to leading models of social justice, community and civic responsibility. It then encourages them to critically examine the role of these models in their own past and present lives, and how they can work with their communities in a pro-social manner to exercise their voice in the system, change it for the better, and build a more just future. For example: How does the unequal distribution of resources affect the way people view their own chance to receive fair treatment? By the end of the course, participants feel they have a stake in their communities and a desire to contribute to changing the conditions of those communities.
What Students Say about the Social Justice Course:
“This class has not only made me look at myself to make changes, but also [to make changes in] my community, the court system, as well as the government.” – Anonymous Graduate, 2011
“For me to see how procedures are used in a social setting could affect people in so many different ways really got my attention, because I had to see things from another person’s point of view as well as my own.” – Anonymous Graduate, 2011
“I learned a lot from the curriculum, but the interaction with the other participants was just as enlightening.” – Vaughn Miles, 2012 Graduate
“My view of the world had been limited to what was in front of me, but now this light was going off, and I couldn’t get enough. I was stunned. Why are we not teaching this to everyone?” – Chris Deragon, 2011 Graduate