Learning and Practicing Citizenship and Democracy Behind Bars

  • Michelle Inderbitzin
  • Joshua Cain
  • Trevor Walraven
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology book series (PSIPP)


Many prisoners were convicted of crimes and incarcerated before they had developed a clear understanding of what it means to live and participate in a democratic society. As adults, much of what these incarcerated individuals know about democracy and citizenship they have learned within the prison environment. This chapter is coauthored with elected leaders of the Lifers’ Unlimited Club at the Oregon State Penitentiary. Leadership in prisoner-led clubs reinforces principles of democracy by showing prisoners that their voices do count and that they can make a difference in their daily lives. These young men deal with the deprivation of liberty through positive means, “rejecting the rejectors” by becoming stronger and better citizens in prison than many of their counterparts in the outside community.


Criminal Justice System Prison Population Correctional Facility Monthly Meeting Alcoholic Anonymous 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Inderbitzin
    • 1
  • Joshua Cain
    • 2
  • Trevor Walraven
    • 2
  1. 1.Oregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Oregon State PenitentiarySalemUSA

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