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Advancing Corrections Journal – Edition 6

This 6th Edition is dedicated to the ‘Innovation in Education: Voices from the Front Line’. The contributions in the journal are international –  from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary and Africa. The first two papers are from ‘incarcerated learners‘ – the ones who it is all about and who we should listen to more often. The next set of papers present the ‘voices’ of Educators; academics who are trained to write dispassionately but who in this case clearly lean into what they believe deeply, followed by the voices of a few ‘Researchers’ in the field of prison education. We turn to the Administrator’s ‘voice’ for the next set of papers where they explore how technologies could be used for enhancing education, an impressive collaboration between prison and university, distance education programmes, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award as a spark for change for many young people entwined in the justice system. In the usual way we end each of our Advancing Corrections Editions, our last two papers profile two examples of ‘Practice Innovation in Corrections’ – on this occasion from Africa, illustrating that innovation in prison education can occur even when conditions may be less than optimal.

 

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THE LEARNER’S VOICE
ARTICLE 1 – TRANSFORMATION THROUGH EDUCATION? THE EPITOME OF A ‘HOOK-FOR-CHANGE’

Kris MacPherson

This paper explores the nature of education in prisons as a hook-for-change to catalyze desistance from crime. Drawing from personal experiences and first-hand knowledge, it highlights the nature of this subject from the inside-out, linking these personal reflections with academic analysis. As a recent graduate in criminology and a serving inmate in a Scottish prison, I analyze my own desistance process from the point of view of an aspiring scholar. This paper demonstrates how I have successfully used education to catalyze my own desistance by re-crafting my previous criminal identity to a more pro-social, academic one.
ARTICLE 2 – SCHOOLING IN A CANADIAN FEDERAL PRISON

Anonymous

This paper is an examination of schooling in a Canadian prison based primarily on the author’s experience as a prisoner-tutor. The paper describes the school in regard to scope, teachers, students, content, and teaching and learning. The dominant feature of the school is the lack of priority given to education in prison in Canada. The paper concludes with five practical and low-cost suggestions for short-term improvement.
THE EDUCATOR’S VOICE
ARTICLE 3 – EVERY POSSIBLE LEARNING OPPORTUNITY: THE CAPACITY OF EDUCATION IN PRISON TO CHALLENGE DEHUMANISATION AND LIBERATE ‘THE WHOLE PERSON’

Kevin Warner

‘Adult education’ thinking envisages ‘the full development of the human personality’, offers many learning opportunities, and recognises learners’ individualities and capacities to transform their lives. This philosophy and practice is as valid within prisons as in the community outside, a view asserted in Council of Europe and United Nations documents. Research from many countries into what learners in prison value most from their study supports this perspective, but punitive penal policies limit the possibilities adult education offers. Policy implications include recognising education in prison as a right rather than a privilege, and ensuring a wide curriculum i s offered to all.
ARTICLE 4 – VOICES FROM INSIDE THE CIRCLE: THE WALLS TO BRIDGES COLLABORATIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING EXPERIENCE IN CANADA

Jennifer M. Kilty & Sandra Lehalle

This paper offers a qualitative review of the authors’ experience co-teaching their first Walls to Bridges (W2B) course in Ontario, Canada. W2B is an educational program where post-secondary courses are taught inside correctional facilities; the student cohort consists of equal numbers of ‘inside’ students (prisoners) and ‘outside’ university students. The authors use inside and outside student journals as qualitative data to provide compelling testimonials of the benefits of this innovative educational initiative and to showcase the students’ voices. This article describes the importance of mobilizing Indigenous circle pedagogy to structure the course, which is exceptionally important in the Canadian context; the significance of recognizing the diverse voices in the circle; and the role of empathic listening and expressive speech to facilitating critical circle dialogue. We begin by outlining some of the main institutional barriers that need to be overcome to successfully run a W2B course and conclude with a review of some of the main benefits of this program for students and correctional staff alike – including, combatting inmate and staff stereotypes/codes, strengthening staff-prisoner relationships, increasing the inmate’s social and cultural capital by way of university level education, and building bridges between the prison and the community by way of institutional partnerships between the university and corrections and inside and outside student connection.
ARTICLE 5 – TURNING CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION INSIDE-OUT: EXPERIENCES AND LESSONS FROM A UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP

Lauren Mayes, Teresa Owens, Joanne Falvai &Teri Du Temple

Nanaimo Correctional Centre (NCC) and Vancouver Island University (VIU) have been delivering an innovative educational program to students by holding a criminology class called ‘Inside-Out’ inside NCC. This manuscript details the experiences and lessons that have come from offering this course over the past three years while highlighting the impact on correctional staff, incarcerated students, and university students who are likely to join the criminal justice field. Along with the positive impact of the program, we discuss implementation challenges and provide insights into forming educational partnerships for correctional agencies that may be looking to adopt more innovative educational programming.
ARTICLE 6 – HIGHER EDUCATION IN HIGH SECURITY: MEANINGFUL EDUCATION EXPERIENCES IN THE ABSENCE OF LEARNING TECHNOLOGIES

Helen Nichols

This paper introduces the reader to a course taught at a High Security prison in the UK to a combined group of serving prisoners and university students. Within this paper, the implications of the absence of technology in the prison classroom are considered, with particular attention being paid to how this absence can be beneficial for learning experiences. By examining the collaborative nature of learning in this environment, the paper argues that although learning technologies are important to diversify learning experiences, the value of human interaction facilitates the emergence of positive behaviours of desistance; particularly in relation to desisting from stereotyping others.
ARTICLE 7 – EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING: WHY THE DIFFERENCES ARE IMPORTANT

Anne Pike & Helen Farley

Countries across the world have similar objectives for educating and training their citizens, with demanding targets to promote lifelong learning, mobility, equity, social cohesion and active citizenship. Objectives for educating and training prisoners, however, tend to focus on employment. Important differences in ‘education’ and ‘vocational training’ must be considered for effective planning and delivery, to ensure prisoners have individual choices and opportunities to reach their full potential. The tendency for prison administrators to focus on provision of vocational training to boost postrelease employment, is interrogated. A more nuanced understanding of the role of education and training in prisons is suggested.
THE RESEARCHER’S VOICE
ARTICLE 8 – EDUCATION CAN BE THE KEY TO SUCCESS: HOW PRISON-BASED EDUCATION CAN CONTRIBUTE TO POSITIVE POST RELEASE OUTCOMES

Bronwyn Morrison & Jill Bowman

Although studies have found that prison-based education can reduce reoffending, this is not an inevitable outcome. Indeed, even when effects are evident, impacts can often be modest. Using findings from a longitudinal study of New Zealand prisoners, this article explores how prison-based education became a positive turning point for some people. Through the stories of prison learners, it argues that the mechanisms through which prison education “works” are complex and highly individualised, and should be understood within the broader context of learners’ biographies and narratives. It concludes with some suggestions for how Correctional organisations can enhance the rehabilitative value of education.
ARTICLE 9 – IN THE SERVICE OF REINTEGRATION: EDUCATORS IN HUNGARIAN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS

Márta Takács-Miklósi, Attila Károly Molnár, Judit Dézsi & Susan Hopkins

Research has demonstrated that giving inmates adequate education during their custodial sentences can reduce recidivism Gerber and Fritsch, 1993; Ripley, 1993; Vacca, 2004). There is a relative lack of research, however, on the impact of prisons on their own staff, with little systematic examination of the professional community who are tasked with assisting the social adaptation of inmates. Even less attention is generally paid to examining and surveying the prison teachers who design and deliver the prison programs which aim to reduce recidivism. Staff should perform high-quality work to be able to participate in the preparation of inmates for reintegration, but they may be prevented from doing so effectively through restraints, for example, those related to overcrowding and staffing shortages. Presenting both quantitative and qualitative data, this article discusses the main problems constraining the work of corrections educators based in both prisons and colleges in Hungary. The data presented are drawn from an investigation conducted by the three Hungarian lead authors between January 2017 and April 2017. The data collection approach included questionnaires and interviews conducted with corrections educators and staff inside two Hungarian correctional centres and four ‘outside’ educational institutions or colleges.
ARTICLE 10 – DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY PSYCHO-EDUCATION CURRICULUM WITH REMAND PRISONERS

Yilma Woldgabreal, Andrew Day, Gene Mercer, Henry Pharo, Clark Sim, Fereshteh Beard, Iman Hafiz, Greg Fuller, Xinyue Wang & Elizabeth Grant

This paper reports the design, development and implementation of an innovative psycho-educational curriculum currently being offered to remand5 prisoners in South Australia by the Department for Correctional Service (South Australia). The project is noteworthy given that few programs are available to remand prisoners, and the application of positive psychology concepts and methods in a prison setting. The initial stages of program delivery have confirmed that engaging remand prisoners in psycho-education increases individual’s openness, motivation and readiness to engage in alternative ways of viewing life events that may increase individual’s resilience and problem-solving abilities. This paper highlights that an engagement in psycho-educational curricula in the remand phase may increase the potential for individuals to engage in education and other rehabilitation programs should they subsequently receive a custodial sentence or community-based sanction. Salient questions arise as to whether people released without conviction may benefit from completing psycho-education and
reduce further contact with the criminal justice system.
THE ADMINISTRATOR’S VOICE
ARTICLE 11 – CREATING OFFENDER SUCCESS THROUGH EDUCATION: THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS EFFORTS TO OFFER A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO PRISONER EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Heidi E. Washington

The Michigan Department of Corrections has embraced innovation within its educational programs since a comprehensive restructuring began in 2013 that focused on providing engaging, enriching, and workforce-focused educational opportunities throughout the state’s prison system. Over the past few years, several trendsetting initiatives supported by Governor Rick Snyder and championed by Director Heidi Washington have helped redefine correctional education in Michigan.
ARTICLE 12 – MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER: SUPPORTING EDUCATORS TO SUPPORT INCARCERATED STUDENTS IN AUSTRALIAN PRISON-BASED HIGHER EDUCATION

Helen Farley & Susan Hopkins

Increased national and international attention, focused on the treatment of young people, particularly Indigenous youth, in Australian prisons and juvenile detention centres, has prompted renewed recognition of the role of corrections education in addressing interconnected issues of poverty,
unemployment and recidivism. There is a dearth of action research, however, into what works and what doesn’t work in the delivery of higher education to incarcerated students in Australian correctional centres. This article identifies both problems and solutions in reaching and supporting incarcerated higher education students with limited or no internet access. This article argues that the way forward for improved access and equity for incarcerated students is through effective collaboration between the two key institutions of the university and the correctional centre.
ARTICLE 13 – DEVELOPING THE LEARNER VOICE

Ruth McFarlane & Andrew Morris

This paper presents three innovative projects in UK prisons which provide opportunities for students in prison to take greater ownership of their learning, recognising that this has significant benefits in a wider context. These include giving students responsibility for administration and peer support, Student Councils offering students voices to be heard and academic seminars to introduce prisoners to exciting new areas of study. Central to each of these is a strong commitment to “ensure that the student voice is present in decision making” (The Open University, 2018). Future plans and possibilities for building learning communities are proposed.
ARTICLE 14 – THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S INTERNATIONAL AWARD AS NON-FORMAL EDUCATION FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS

Jon Eilenberg, Amy Pearce & Howard Williamson

This paper examines the delivery of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (the Award) in correctional facilities, and how non-formal education can improve operations and effectiveness regarding young offenders. The Award is a well-tested program that allows young people to challenge themselves and build their life skills. This can be of particular benefit to young offenders who often experience difficulties transitioning into adulthood and the more so in correctional facilities. The applied research and experiences discussed in the article are directly related to improved practices in terms of services, offender and staff wellbeing, and the correctional environment in general.
PRACTICE INNOVATION: EXAMPLES FROM AFRICA
ARTICLE 15 – ADVANCING REHABILITATION THROUGH EDUCATION: EKUSENI SECONDARY SCHOOL

Zanele Vandala

Ekuseni Secondary school is established inside the South African Department of Correctional Services (DCS) setting for incarcerated youth between the ages 14 and 18 years. EYDC was built through the initiative of the late former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela to deliver rehabilitation programmes to incarcerated youth and equip them with market related skills for smooth transition into communities. The DCS established Ekuseni secondary school in partnership with the Department of Basic Education. This secondary school gives incarcerated youth access to market related education curricula from Grade 10 to 12. It is assumed this may improve literacy levels, facilitate reintegration, thus; reduce recidivism and crime rates in South Africa.
ARTICLE 16 – HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE PRISON THROUGH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: NOUN APPROACH

Juliana Ndunagu & Nebath Tanglang

This paper is concerned with how the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) provides education to Nigerian prison inmate students through information technology without breaching the security policy on the use of Internet. This has been achieved using a proxy server for Tutor Marked Assignments (TMA) and e- examinations as well as the duplication of all online course materials into the prison’s desktop (offline mode). This paper concludes that th e NOUN initiative has gained wide acceptance by inmate students especially with the grant of 100% scholarship to the students.