A Race to the bottom – Prison Education and the English and Welsh Policy Context

Article


Czerniawski, G. 2015. A Race to the bottom – Prison Education and the English and Welsh Policy Context. Journal of Education Policy.
AuthorsCzerniawski, G.
Abstract

This article examines prison education in England and Wales arguing that a disjuncture exists
between the policy rhetoric of entitlement to education in prison at the European level and the
playing out of that entitlement in English and Welsh prisons. Caught between conflicting
discourses around a need to combat recidivism and a need for incarceration, prison education in
England exists within a policy context informed, in part, by an international human rights agenda
on the one hand and global recession, financial cutbacks, and a moral panic about crime on the
other. The European Commission has highlighted a number of challenges facing prison education
in Europe including over‐crowded institutions, increasing diversity in prison populations, the
need to keep pace with pedagogical changes in mainstream education and the adoption of new
technologies for learning (Hawley et al., 2013). These are challenges confronting all policy
makers involved in prison education in England and Wales in a policy context that is messy,
contradictory and fiercely contested. The article argues that this policy context, exacerbated by
socio‐economic discourses around neo‐liberalism, is leading to a race‐to‐the‐bottom in the
standards of educational provision for prisoners in England and Wales.

JournalJournal of Education Policy
Year2015
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Publication dates
Print08 Jul 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Jun 2015
Accepted04 Jun 2015
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Education Policy on 08.07.15, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02680939.2015.1062146.
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