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Does school prepare men for prison? The life histories of eleven former prisoners

Graham, Karen (2015)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Research associated with prisons and schools tends to focus on the connection between educational failure and the onset of offending. This research takes a different perspective by exploring whether school prepares men for prison per se. This focus emerged from the researcher's professional practice as a prison teacher. She completed induction interviews with over 200 prisoners and information from those conversations appeared to indicate that there may be a direct relationship between inmates' school and prison experiences. Observations in prison further suggested prisoners may constitute a community of practice who share a habitus and cultural capitals. To examine these themes in more detail, life histories were collected from eleven former prisoners for this doctoral thesis.

The life history data was explored through Bowles and Gintis’ Correspondence Principle (1988), Bourdieu’s Reproduction through Education (1990), and Lave and Wenger’s Community of Practice (1991). Findings indicate that the former prisoners experienced a unique schooling on the margins of the mainstream school population. Segregations and various exclusions featured heavily and educational content was low. Features of this schooling experience are shown to directly correspond with the experience of being imprisoned. The researcher therefore argues that their schooling did serve as a preparation for prison.

Type of Work:Ed.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Visser, John (1946-) and Warmington, Paul and Rollock, Nicola
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
L Education (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:6020
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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