298 Prison Education and Social Transformation: Comparing and Connecting

Friday, July 14, 2017: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
Gilbert Scott Conference Room - 251 (University of Glasgow)
A Council of Europe white paper (2016) on prison conditions in the EU notes that “many states have experienced a change of opinion in the public opinion on crime.  The drive to be ‘tougher on crime’ or to apply ‘zero tolerance’ policies . . . has led to an increase in incarceration” (5).  Although the situations are not identical, the EU trend towards increased incarceration shows strikingly similarities to the phenomenon in the United States.  Yet while many studies compare US and EU imprisonment policies (usually to dramatize the US’s high incarceration rate) and most acknowledge the significance of social inequality in sentencing, fewer have explored how scholars, policy leaders, and educators have been working to address the social inequality that results from punitive incarceration.  

This panel aims to compare work now being undertaken in the UK and the US to provide higher education to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals.  Access to education has proven to reduce recidivism by increasing the opportunities and resources available to this population.  We ask:  What kinds of programming do incarcerated students need?  What are the potentially transformative effects of increasing access to higher education for the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated? How might universities’ engagement with the criminal justice system contribute to more sustainable political and social futures?  Might this engagement with prison education transform the social impact of the university as well?  Our papers focus on prison education programming in Scotland and in the US (with particular focus on Glasgow and New York City).

Eileen Gillooly
Discussant :
Eileen Gillooly
University-Prison Engagement in Scotland
Sarah Armstrong, University of Glasgow; Louise Brangan, University of Edinburgh; John McGhee, University of Dundee
Why Prison Education Matters
Geraldine Downey, Columbia University
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