The role of education in prisons, prisoners' decisions regarding education, the impact of prison culture on either encouraging or discouraging such activities, and the potential consequences of education for prisoners' reentry into society all have important implications. This extended analysis of prisoner education represents a unique contribution to an under-researched field, whilst also making important and original connections between research on education in prison and the literature on adult learning in the community. Through offering crucial insights into the varied motivations and disincentives that inform prisoners' decisions to study in prison (whether it be through distance learning or prison-based classes), the reader is also able to consider factors that inform decisions to engage in a broader range of positive and constructive activities whilst in prison. These research findings provide insight into how prison culture and prison policies may impact upon rehabilitative endeavour and suggest ways in which prisons may seek to encourage constructive and/ or rehabilitative activities amongst their inhabitants if desired. Based on interviews and questionnaires completed by British adult prisoners studying through distance learning, this qualitative study offers a valuable complement and counterpart to prison education studies that focus on measuring recidivism rates. The learner-centred approach used yields a nuanced and complex understanding of the varied ways in which education in prison actually operates and is experienced, and considers the consequences of this for the students' lives. As such, the findings offer further insight into important evidence resulting from recidivism studies reviewed within the book, whilst contributing to the reemerging interest in studies of prison life and prison culture that are based on prisoner interviews.
Emma Hughes is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University, Fresno, USA.
'This important new work captures the crucial tension at the heart of prison education. In many ways, education is the opposite of imprisonment. It opens up possibilities instead of closing them off. The challenge for the 'prisoner-student', so vividly captured in this rich study, is to escape the mental and spiritual imprisonment of the jail through learning. In that sense, Education in Prison can be seen as a case study in the triumph of the human spirit.' Shadd Maruna, Queen's University Belfast, UK ’Hughes’ book is a fabulous addition to the literature on prisoner reform. Based on interviews with inmates, this qualitative study is comprehensive, detailed and finely nuanced. It is a book of hope and caution, using education as an example of the personal strength, resilience, skills and just plain luck needed to succeed in learning and in life.’ Bonita M. Veysey, Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey, USA 'Presented as a 198-page hardback (or an e-book), ’Education in prison’, is a welcome addition to the limited literature in the under-researched field of ’prisoner’ education... the book is a must for anyone wishing to know more about education in prison. It should appeal to researchers, policy makers and practitioners as it provides rich accounts of the benefits and barriers to learning in prison and the implication, for the prison system and its staff, to develop a more supportive learning environment. However, it should also appeal to a wider readership as it removes some of the mystery of prison, providing great insight into the role of education in prison and its potential benefits for society as a whole.' Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning '... Emma Hughes offers a detailed and thought-provoking presentation of the personal, social and environmental factors that influence engagement with education in prison and with distance learning in particular. ... This book is a useful contribution to a very limited research field on di