Photograph courtesy of Marco Calderon

The REAL Collective is a group of Muhlenberg faculty, staff, students, and individuals who are currently or formerly incarcerated working to leverage the power of education as a radical tool to end mass incarceration and build healthy communities. The Collective includes individuals from two Muhlenberg College classes taught at the Lehigh County Corrections Center. Following the success of two semesters of course work, The REAL Collective research team received funding from a Mellon grant to assess the course’s learning outcomes and community impact and report findings. The Think Tank was inspired by the continued participation of a community of course alumni who desire to remain in contact with one another. Monthly meetings with the Think Tank seek to develop each individual’s abilities to facilitate dialogue about mass incarceration within the local community.

We seek to provide

  • Innovative learning that results in critical thinking and engaged citizenship.
  • Increased community connection, awareness, and resources development.
  • Reduced recidivism for individuals who are incarcerated through the investment in education.
  • Active dismantling of inequitable systems and bold reimagination of justice.