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Education in prison

Erin's picture

During last class discussion, many of my peers mentioned the similarities and correlations between school and prison. I was surprised and had to admit that there are indeed many overlapping philosophies of two seemly irrelevant facilities, a confined space with many people, some levels of administrative stuff, spend some time to achieve certain purpose and etc.

However, after reading the two articles about higher education in prison, I realize the topic of higher education in prison has evolved to such a complicated one after 200 hundred years.  The fundamental paradox arises from the “tension between competing vision of what prisoners themselves are and accordingly, what prisoners should or ought to be?” ( Jones, d’Errico, 1)

Religion plays an important role in starting the education program in prison. (Interestingly, religious authority also initiated the original reform of educational system by starting charity school). However, prisons are after all institutions built for corrections purpose. This ongoing conflict between administrators and educators become the forces shape development t of higher education in prison.  Pennsylvania is one of the earliest state to start the program led by Quakers.

During this process, the intention to illuminate a rejection of assumption that prisoners are inherently different fanciful to many has never been stopped . (2) Nevertheless, the historical trend of expansion of education program in prison is obvious. However, the development of education is full of certainties and difficulties.  Who should teach and how should they teach are questions for the educators. On the other hand, what’s the expectation and the ways of participate in the education are questions for the insiders of prison.

Overall, I find myself confused and ambivalent about this topic. Just like author mentioned as well the real data showed that higher education in prison is never the priority for the administrators. I understand that people go to jail due to various reasons and I don’t have the right to judge to make the rough conclusions that they are bad guys. But, I think the judicial system exists hoping to construct and monitor the society to keep it regulated. I know there might many innocent people in prison and there bad people out there due to the imperfections in the laws. Sometimes, I just doubted that why they deserve the chances of using the social resources when people outside can’t really fix every problem sin current education system.  Also, many date showed that misuse of the government put society in greater danger.

I guess we still have to give people inside the prison some chances to start again. I do think it’s necessary to find a way to help them and develop a better self in prison.