Katy Ryan

Director of Education, Teaching Professor

In her role, Katy leads PJI’s prison education programs and also teaches in the Bachelor of Liberal Arts program at the Patuxent Institution in Maryland. Katy taught undergraduate and graduate courses in American literature, modern drama, and prison studies for over 20 years as a member of the English faculty at West Virginia University. Her research focuses on the literature and history of incarceration in the United States. In 2004, she founded the Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP), a volunteer nonprofit that sends free books to people imprisoned in six states, creates book clubs in prisons, and generates public conversations about mass incarceration and transformative justice. She has published an edited collection of writings on the death penalty and is co-editor of a forthcoming book on APBP. Katy has taught courses inside state and federal prisons for many years, and she co-founded the West Virginia University Higher Education in Prison Initiative. She earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, an M.A. in English from Saint Louis University, and a B.A. in English from Boston College.