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Prison Education: Indicators at Micro-Meso Levels

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

Abstract

A number of issues raised in the national reports are basically matters of good educational practice, such as individual educational plans (IEPs) for prisoners, holistic initial assessment, professional development of prison teachers and availability of relevant resource materials for prison education, as well as recognition of respect for prisoners as learners through a principle of normality in prisons. It is important that any system of initial assessment and IEPs be carried out in a climate of dialogue, invitation and explanation rather than one of social control which would be counterproductive for those with low levels of basic education. There is little evidence of professional development and support for teachers working in prisons across the national reports.

A pervasive theme in national reports is prison overcrowding as a barrier to education. An innovative approach to educational delivery is highlighted for more than one prison in the English national report. This approach is of using the prison wings themselves as sites for education and not simply to have a separate education section. This may not only help in relation to working within limitations of space in prison but may also have a range of positive knock-on consequences regarding the pervasiveness of education in the prison institutional culture. It is important to emphasise that wing-based delivery is not replacing a separate educational site in prison but is complementary to it.

Difficulties highlighted for prison education include attitudinal barriers of staff and the media and prison doors being locked so that prisoners could not access education classes at particular times. The practical problem of finding teaching staff is an issue in some countries; this is related largely to salary rates for teaching in prison. Concern must be taken to avoid the questionable policy disincentive to learning involving a loss of income for prisoners who choose to use their time for education rather than work in prison. Renewal of strategic commitment to the importance of prison education, at Commission, national and local prison institutional levels would involve serious addressing of these practical barriers to prisoners’ rights to access education.

Keywords

Lifelong Learning National Report Adult Education Individual Education Plan Prison Officer 
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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