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An examination of the function of education in prisons: social, political and penal persepectives

Poole, Helen Louise (2016)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This study aims to examine the function of education in prisons through the application of a unique analytical model. Prisoner education has become a primary focus for the rehabilitation of offenders, evidenced more recently by the announcement and abandonment of a network of privately run ‘Secure Colleges’ to replace the existing estate for young offenders. This research aims to form a better understanding of what such education provision is designed to achieve through an examination the social, political and penal context in which it has developed.

Building on the work of Foucault (1979), Markus (1993) and King (1980) amongst others, the present study triangulates data from political discourse, prison architecture, and still images of prison learning spaces using an analytical model based on research findings from philosophical, sociological, penal and educational theories.

The main findings of the study are that the enduring function of prison education is the control of the prisoner-class, which is highly related to the macro-management of the penal system (reducing reoffending) and economic production. The author argues such an approach ignores individual agency, and negatively impacts on approaches to prison education through the marginalisation of educational theory and pedagogic best practice.

Type of Work:Ed.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Peim, Nick
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Education
Subjects:HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
L Education (General)
LC Special aspects of education
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:6740
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties.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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