Prison education across Europe: policy, practice, politics

London Review of Education
Volume 12, Number 2, July 2014

Anne Costelloe and Kevin Warner

The nature of the education offered in prisons varies greatly. Provision can be focused narrowly on limited objectives, such as training for employment or seeking to ‘address offending behaviour’. On the other hand, where prison education follows the policies of the Council of Europe or the European Union, which are drawn from the traditions of adult education and life-long learning, it becomes a more comprehensive and transformative experience for men and women held in prison. Underpinning these different approaches are two very different perceptions of those held in prison: one sees merely ‘an offender’, while the other recognizes ‘the whole person’ and his or her membership of society. Where narrow and negative concepts of the men and women held in prison prevail, one tends to find severe limitations on the quality and quantity of the education offered. Four such ‘curtailments’ are discussed.

Click here for full article.

Educating ‘the whole person’: a wide and deep role for prison education

Keynote talk to 14th EPEA Conference, Iceland 5th to 8th June 2013

One could say the EPEA was conceived in Oxford in 1989, the initiative in the first place of an English prison teacher, Pam Bedford (now Pam Radcliffe). It then had a rather long gestation. An ad hoc Committee was formed two years later, in Bergen in The Netherlands, but we cannot really say an organisation was properly born until Sigtuna, in Sweden, in 1993. In Sigtuna, there were two developments that made clear the EPEA was launched as a proper organisation: the EPEA constitution was adopted, and the first EPEA tee-shirts appeared (produced, as far as I remember, in Norwegian prisons).

Click here for full article.