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Title: Tales of 2 prisons : discipline and education for women in open and closed prisons
Author: Porter, Ian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 6834
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2009
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As the prison population continues to rise year on year, the Prison Service has, as a consequence, become one of the most prominent providers of adult education in England and Wales. The female incarcerated demographic alone has doubled over the past decade. Despite this backdrop, prison education remains under-researched compared with mainstream learning settings. This doctoral research is based on in-depth case studies of two women's prisons, (HMP 'Freshfields' and HMP 'Arkham') examining how learning is understood and facilitated within strikingly contrasting open and closed settings. The study (employing strategies of ethnographic observation and semi-structured interviews) offers methodological insights in terms of employing successful qualitative strategies in closed off, socially excluded contexts. This thesis argues that the rigid government approach towards core prison curricula provision, framed around a ubiquitous, instrumentalist, basic skills framework, is largely misguided and rigidly simplistic. The case is made that alternative forms of literacy discourse more closely centred on the experience of prisoners, along with creative forms of learning, offer wider and more compelling benefits in terms of esteem and skills. The nature of the transition (educationally and emotionally) from closed to open regimes is explored, demonstrating ways in which the open prisons promote communities of practice more effectively than closed prisons. The underlying tension between employment and domestic skills for women in prison is also interrogated. In addition to arguing for an educational overhaul, the thesis concludes that a structural shift away from closed, barbed wire, institutions along with an overall reduction in numbers of prisoners is needed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available