Donald McColl was ready to start his PowerPoint presentation on the questionable origin of some early Christian artworks, but the equipment was acting up. A student asked, "Does anyone have a paper clip?"
It was a joke. No one has a paper clip in prison.
This summer, a caravan of scholars and students has been traveling 65 miles from the rustic Chestertown campus of Washington College to the barbed-wire fortress of Jessup Correctional Institution to teach ethics to prisoners.
Thirty-two inmates, most serving life sentences, read Plato, Kierkegaard, Frederick Douglass and Buddha over the course of 15 classes, culminating in term papers, most of them written in...