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Abstract

Prior to law school, I volunteered as a teacher in a radical, anti- oppressive education collective in an American jail. Each teacher periodically wrote and taught a new curriculum based on student input, interest, and preference. In addition to providing educational opportunities within the jail, one of the main goals of the collective was to resist the carceral state through education. These are the radical elements of our program, as I understood them: (1) there were no hierarchies in the classroom; (2) we would not teach GED or other any other curricula approved by the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the topics were student-selected; and (3) we would not require our students to participate in class lessons. As long as students who did not want to participate in the lessons did not interrupt e who wanted to, they were free to stay and interact — or not — as they chose.

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