[This item first appeared in the IPEA Newsletter, No. 3, November 2014]
Recent months have seen a range of very interesting publications related to prisons, prison education and the justice system at large. Most of these are easily accessible on-line.
Several relate to penal reform in some way. In May, the Irish Penal Reform Trust issues a very insightful report, written by Liza Costello, called Travellers in the Irish Prison System and that is available here. In June, the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice in Dublin launched a significant publication, Re-Imagining Imprisonment in Europe: Effects, Failures and the Future, which, as well as much European-wide content, has quite a number of inputs from Ireland – including two chapters on prison education. More information is available at www.theliffeypress.com, or www.jcfj.ie or from the flyer you can find on the IPEA website. July saw the issuing of the Report of the Independent Review Group on the Department of Justice and Equality (available at here. This report is highly critical of the department’s “closed, secretive and silo-driven culture” and what it saw as its very ineffective management.
Two recent special issues of important journals are well worth exploring, and both are open-access on-line journals. The Irish Journal of Applied Social Science (IJASS) produced a special issue on criminology and penology in May (available on http://arrow.dit.ie/ijass/). Three contributors to this issue have prison education links. Catherine MacNamara (Casey) of Midlands Prison writes about health promotion in a prison context; Anne Costelloe of Mountjoy has an article on teaching for ‘active citizenship’; and former Co-ordinator of Education, Kevin Warner, discusses prison conditions.
The London Review of Education published an extensive special issue on prison education this July and includes a range of international articles, including one by Anne Costelloe and Kevin Warner entitled ‘Prison education across Europe: Policy, Practice, Politics’. It is available at here.
Finally, earlier this year, the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) published a particularly interesting and detailed research-based report on 23 years of the NCAD’s course at Portlaoise Prison. Written by Dr Aislinn O’Donnell of the University of Limerick, it is available at here.