Special issue on prison education
Prison education has significant benefits, both to the individual and to society. The October issue of the International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning explores education in prison, both as a basic right and as an essential tool in supporting offenders to re-enter the workforce and reintegrate into society.
The contributions to this special issue look at prisons in the United States, Norway, Belgium, the Philippines and Latin America, but also consider the topic more generally from a human rights perspective. They show the benefits of prison education such as a reduction in the social and economic costs associated with recidivism, but also highlight how far most countries have to go in order to realize them.
Key challenges transcend the difficulties of adapting educational resources for delivery in a prison environment, and include administrative constraints, lack of funding, a mismatch of demand and supply, language issues, restricted access to sources of knowledge, especially the internet – and a dearth of research.
Several authors highlight the need for greater advocacy of prison education and call on national authorities to give it greater support. Adequate funding is needed to enable prison administrations to hire professional trainers and teachers who can facilitate second-chance education for disadvantaged citizens, provide citizenship education, promote access to literacy and thus to reading and literature.
Two of the articles – on participation in education in Norwegian prisons and cooperation and education in the Latin American prison system – can be downloaded free throughout November.