Home Editor's Pick Podcast: Teaching Classes in the Prison System
Podcast: Teaching Classes in the Prison System

Podcast: Teaching Classes in the Prison System


Podcast with Dr. Bjorn Mercer, Program Director, Communication, Philosophy, Religion, World Languages and the Arts; Tiffany Orcesi, Faculty Member, School of Arts and Humanities, and Dr. Michael Pittaro, Faculty Member, Criminal Justice

Start a criminal justice degree at American Public University.

Recidivism – a relapse into criminal behavior – is an ongoing problem for those convicted of a crime. Often, offenders are undereducated, lack steady employment, live in poverty and face the social stigma of a criminal history when seeking employment. However, education provides much-needed job skills to provide offenders with a way to improve their chances of a successful reentry into society.

In this podcast, American Public University (APU) faculty member Tiffany Orcesi, Security and Global Studies faculty member Dr. Michael Pittaro and Dr. Bjorn Mercer discuss teaching in prison. Tiffany Orcesi and Dr. Michael Pittaro discuss their experiences teaching in the prison system, the challenges of prisoner educational programs and the difficulties of prisoner reintegration.

About the Speakers

Dr. Bjorn Mercer is a Program Director at American Public University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Missouri State University, a master’s and doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. He writes about leadership, management and why the humanities and liberal arts are critical to career success. Dr. Mercer also writes children’s music.

Tiffany Orcesi is a political science professor with the School of Arts and Humanities at APU and an adjunct professor at Jefferson Community College. She holds a B.S. in political science from the United States Military Academy and an M.P.A. in public administration from Murray State University.

Dr. Michael Pittaro is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice with American Public University and an Adjunct Professor at East Stroudsburg University. Dr. Pittaro is a criminal justice veteran, highly experienced in working with criminal offenders in a variety of institutional and non-institutional settings. Before pursuing a career in higher education, Dr. Pittaro worked in corrections administration. He also served as the Executive Director of an outpatient drug and alcohol facility and as Executive Director of a drug and alcohol prevention agency. Dr. Pittaro has been teaching at the university level (online and on-campus) for the past 15 years while also serving internationally as an author, editor, presenter, and subject matter expert. Dr. Pittaro holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice; an M.P.A. in Public Administration; and a Ph.D. in criminal justice.