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Prison Education: Indicators at Macro-Exo Levels

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Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 21)

Abstract

It is evident from a number of national reports that prison education is completely lacking in strategic focus and intervention at national level in some countries. A concern emerging from the Austrian report is that in contrast to the impetus for recent reforms to prison education, for example, in Belgium (Flanders), Estonia and Lithuania, there appears to be little appetite for further engagement with prison education at a national level in Austria. The Bulgarian national report provides clear evidence not only of availability of prison education but also successful graduation by prisoner students from education courses across a range of prisons. The Estonian national report provides an interesting approach to preventing prison officer resistance to prisoners’ learning through involving them centrally in the delivery of some of the key programmes. While a national strategic approach to access to lifelong learning in prison is evident in the English national report, it nevertheless remains a concern that the goal of employment subordinates other legitimate goals of lifelong learning, such as active citizenship, social cohesion and personal fulfilment. An EU Commission conception of access to lifelong learning operates with a broader lens and includes all citizens and therefore encompasses prisoners and prison education.

While a number of national reports illustrate the presence of web-based education in prisons, it appears that security reasons are a pervasive barrier to distance education and web-based learning in at least a number of European countries. Though reasons for limiting prisoners’ communication with the world outside prison are obvious, it must be technologically possible to devise programmes to allow for limited external communication and access to key aspects of the Web for prisoners’ education. This technological development needs to be instantiated as a matter of priority across prisons in the EU—what is being presented as a technological problem is more a lack of political will to access the appropriate technology for this limited external communication.

It is of concern that a number of issues are being represented, in some contexts, as being basically security issues, such as access to education in high-security prisons and access to web-based learning, which are in reality issues more of lack of political will in some countries to instantiate a decision-making that gives sufficient weight and substantial effect to the right of prisoners to access education.

Keywords

Vocational Training Lifelong Learning Distance Education National Report Distance Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Disadvantage Centre St. Patrick’s CollegeDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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