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

Graham, Karen (2015). Does school prepare men for prison? The life histories of eleven former prisoners. University of Birmingham. Ed.D.

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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ed.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ed.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
L Education > L Education (General)


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