About TIP


Teach in Prison began in 2000 at UC Berkeley. In cooperation with San Quentin State Prison’s Warden’s office and Robert E. Burton Adult School, TIP has taken UC Berkeley undergraduates to tutor inside of San Quentin State Prison. In 2007, undergraduate student West Hays revived TIP in the form a DeCal course on campus— opening up the program to more student involvement on campus. With the work of Hays, and around forty undergraduate volunteers at its conception, TIP has seen hundreds of tutors work with incarcerated individuals at San Quentin State Prison to support their educational goals through one-on-one tutoring sessions. 

While the program was put on pause during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, TIP is now back and running. Spring 2023 marked the first time TIP tutors entered San Quentin since 2020. At San Quentin, tutors work a weekly shift inside the Read Naturally classroom, supporting students in English-language and reading comprehension. On the Berkeley campus, tutors and interested students participate in the TIP DeCal course to support the work students are doing at San Quentin. The course aims to educate and enhance students’ knowledge of the carceral state.  


TIP holds four main values:

1. Belief in a liberatory education that engages both the tutors and peers in their understanding of the material topics. An education that is non-hierarchical and emphasizes a reciprocal relationship between organizers. 

2. Organize materials that align with our abolitionist values because we acknowledge that visions of prison reform are not liberatory. Teach in Prison provides resources because we acknowledge that theory alone is not sufficient. 

3. Value collective care and do not tolerate disrespectful actions and attitudes amongst our peers. Similarly, we do not tolerate punitive solutions and will handle conflict as a collective. 

4. We acknowledge the variety in positionality of Teach In Prison organizers and expect both conscious understanding of our positionalities along with practice.