Mapping Prison Educating Practices

This project was led by Claire Collins from CCC and Dr David Powell from The University of Huddersfield (UK), with support from Associate Professor Jane Wilkinson from Monash University (Australia)

Through studying a single prison site, we hoped to gain a better understanding of the prison education projects and practices here and, thereby, how it would be possible to work with prisoners and staff to change practices for the better in this and other prisons and help to ensure projects were (more) successful.

Our motivation for doing this work was that we had experienced particular challenges when supporting prison-based action researchers and leading CPD for prison staff and we wanted to better understand why this might be and what to do about it. Also, to date, we had not found any examples of the theory of ‘practice architectures’ (Kemmis et al, 2014) being employed to study prison education sites and practices and we thought this might help us to illuminate practices that were enabling or constraining progress.

During our action research, we worked with prisoners, prison leaders, education staff, and instructors to identify and map:
– The different education projects within the prison.
– The different education practices present within each project.
– The factors (practice architectures) that were shaping the practices of the projects.

We identified 16 educating projects and saw that education was taking place across this prison site but was not always recognised as such.

Access Resources

As a result of this research, we

  • wrote a detailed report – once completed, this will be published and more information will be posted here.
  • made a ‘Thinking Tool‘ with and for prison leaders
  • supported instructional officers to develop educational materials (job sheet learning)
  • worked with ex-prisoners to create materials to explain the purpose of education in prison
  • developed our thinking, processes and support for how to support action research in prisons – see examples by searching for ‘prison’ or ‘HMP’ or ‘prisoner+learning’ in the search bar on this site.