02 SES 05.5 PS, Interactive Poster Session in Session Room - NW 02
The topic of this poster presentation is the comparison of some European countries’ prison education. Generally, prison-education is being developed all around the world (European Infonet Adult Education, 2014). Within the framework of our research, we examine how the Hungarian and the Slovakian prison systems increase the efficiency of dealing with prisoners. This is a part of a two-year work that aims to be acquainted with the prison-education of the V4 Countries. We are expecting a result that enables expanding the possibilities of supporting learning in the prisons.
The main problem is that more than 50 percent of released people commit a crime again and return back to prison (Somogyvári, Mihály et al., 2017). Generalization of learning could help prisoners prepare for the release, consequently reduce recidivism (Gorgol and Sponsler, 2011).
By comparing the education methods in prisons of different countries, we want to see the impact of prison education on reintegration. We are focusing on the educated state of both prisoners and prison staff.
(1) What are the learning conditions for prisoners to prepare for release?
• What are the legal conditions for prison education?
• What are the material conditions for prison education?
• What are the personal conditions for prison education?
(2) How can prisoners use the learning opportunities offered by the prison?
• What kind of cultural activities are the prisoners engaged in?
• What kind of organized learning processes are prisoners involved in?
(3) What are the prison staff's preparedness and qualification indicators?
• How is the prison staff qualified?
• What are the options for training staff in the prison?
• How and what can prison staff help prisoners in preparing for the release?
(4) What are the expected results of reintegration of prisoners?
• How does education increase the social reintegration and the legitimate behavior?
• Does the exemplary behavior of the learning prisoners affect the non-learning prisoners?
(5) Which learning-supporting methods may lead to a smaller recidivism?
The objective of the research is to find the similarities and differences in the penitentiary of the two countries, moreover to find the points that could be used to developing a more effective prison education concept.
The bases of the framework of the research are the laws on penitentiary and the social needs (Foucault, 1975; Giddens, 2009). According to the law, the treatment of prisoners does not cover just the separation and guarding of persons. The goals include also re-educating prisoners and preparing them for returning to society. One of the main needs is learning, which can be a tool for the people living in prisons to form a law-abiding lifestyle.
We can assume that prisoners are not sufficiently informed about their learning opportunities, while the learning and training of prisoners promote the social reintegration. With some targeted andragogical developments, prison processes may evolve into the way that prisoners learn to actively participate in their own reintegration. In addition, the wider the possibilities of prison education are, the more prisoners may be involved in education/training processes. Higher qualified reintegration officers have more opportunities to motivate greater extent prisoners to participate in their own reintegration processes.
In this research, both theoretical and empirical data collection are relevant. We want to see what methods were used in the prisons just to ‘keep’ the prisoners in the past, and how these methods have already changed so far in the practice within the framework of lifelong learning (Hager, 2011). The basis of the theoretical part of the research is studying the Hungarian and the Slovakian and the international literature (publications: books, journals, conferences, and workshops) including historical, pedagogical and andragogical works. Studying the sources of the Hungarian and Slovakian prison education is kept in mind. We also carry out a document analysis. On the one hand, we examine how the Penal Codes focus on reintegration of prisoners. On the other hand, we do a penitentiary institutional document analysis. We consider it important to examine the statistics that point to the changes in the prison. Besides we consider it necessary to ask questions personally to people concerned. We use questionnaires in two languages (both Slovakian and Hungarian) to obtain information from the prison staff about the prisoners' learning habits – we use an interpreter service in order to gain the most relevant content of the informants. We also ask the prison staff about the possibilities for their further training. Through conversations, within semi-structured interviews, we collect data on personality development processes in prisons that may affect prisoners. Additional questionnaires help us to learn about the purpose of prisoners and to ascertain how those who live in prison use the learning opportunities offered by the penitentiary system. By comparing data from the countries, we answer the question: Which learning-supporting methods may lead to a smaller recidivism? In addition to the research in the above mentioned countries, we are planning to visit two other countries such us the Czech Republic and Poland. From the joint examination of these four countries, we expect to see a picture of the opportunities for learning and about the possibilities of development offered by the prisons in the Visegrád Four countries (V4).
In the research, we expect to come to know if there are suitable conditions in the Hungarian and Slovakian prisons for the prisoner’s education. We want to clarify whether the legal options are the same as those of the prisoners’ learning needs. We try to find the appropriate material conditions that support the prison education or find the gaps that are to be filled. We want to see clearly what the personal opportunities are for learning in the prisons. We expect that prisoners use widely the learning opportunities offered by the prison and that they accept the help from the prison staff. We expect from the research that inmates have an individual interest in learning and that the prison staff plays a great role in it. We look forward to seeing a cooperation between prisoners and staff. It is expected that both prisoners and staff consider prison learning a basic action for reintegrating people into society. The results of this research may have an impact on the expansion of prison enforcement methods. Data collected on the empirical research venues may serve to enhance the theoretical knowledge base for criminal andragogy. The quality of the life of released prisoners and their positive feedback on their reintegration into society can stimulate the positive development of those who are still imprisoned. Presentation and analysis of the data from the examined sample and from the experience gained through the empirical research widen the horizons of further developments in the delivery of penalties.
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