Educate or punish : the case for prison education
This study attempts to make the case for prison education. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a number of theories of punishment were produced. Some of these, namely, those of Emile Durkheim, Michel Foucault, Rusche and Kirchheimer and Norbert Elias are reviewed in this study. It is argued that these theories should lead one to conclude that a sound educational programme is indispensable if we want to realise the benefits claimed on behalf of imprisonment or avoid the ills attributed to it. The initial, rudimentary idea of an education for prisoners goes back to the end of the eighteenth century. A cursory historical review is included to highlight the lack of substantial development in prison education. In order for prison teachers and educators to know what they are really about in their work, they need to know and understand their students, the prisoners, and the context in which they have to teach, the prison. Drawing on a spectrum of scholarship and research this study offers an analysis of these two aspects which, one hopes, will shed some light on why prison fails, with some exceptions, to reform prisoners. The last section reviewsthe content of education `programmes' provided in prisons in the United Kingdom and North America during the last two centuries and makes proposals concerning the kind of regime that is needed to ensure a greater measure of success and the pedagogical approach that fits today's world.