CTM-Inside/Outside - Princeton Theological Seminary


April 19, 2018


Led by Associate Dean Dayle Rounds, CTM-Inside/Outside has brought theological education to incarcerated young men at Garden State Correctional Facility, with the potential to award certificates that attest to successful completion of a course or courses. For five years, the Office of Continuing Education at Princeton Theological Seminary has offered a course of theological study for incarcerated young men and lay leaders of local congregations called CTM-InsideIt is a program offering four courses: Theology, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and World Christianity. The project also provides an opportunity for incarcerated students to study with lay persons from local congregations, supporting prisoners’ potential for successful reentry and acceptance into community life when released.

The project has relied on instruction by Princeton Theological Seminary faculty members and students. It is now on “pause,” as the pandemic has vastly interrupted progress with outsiders no longer having access to prison facilities and prisoners not allowed access to virtual study. With funds running low, hope remains to offer one or two certificate courses if access to the prison is restored. Dean Rounds hopes at least to offer a correspondence course for CTM students remaining in the prison. Dean Rounds also hopes to offer conferences to raise awareness and create a support network for those involved in this work.

Ultimately, the desire exists to partner with another institution in order to award academic credit for scholars at the Bachelor level for incarcerated people. Dr. Charles Atkins, an educator, theologian, and former chaplain at the Garden State facility, is exploring options to realize that plan.