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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75607 Find in a Library
Title: Penitentiary Education in Canada
Journal: Education Canada  Volume:20  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:42-47
Author(s): J W Cosman
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Canadian prison education is critiqued on philosophical grounds and an appeal is made for an approach based on humanistic educational principles rather than utilitarian behavioral objectives.
Abstract: Prison education in Canada has been influenced by the suppositions that criminality can be explained by a mechanistic approach to human behavior, that the self is atomic in nature, that society is economic in nature, and that education's purpose is filling time and training for employability. The mechanistic approach to explaining criminal behavior has been proven to be inaccurate by researchers who have found no relationship between criminality and social or economic factors. The atomic view of self roots in Cartesian metaphysics and assumes that persons exist in isolation, without being influenced by contacts with the world. This conceptualization has caused prison education to focus on social and emotional skills training rather than on content for intellectual growth. The utilitarian concept of inmates as economic beings to be integrated through employability into a purely economic society is an outrage to humanity. Prison education should treat inmate students as ends in themselves, rather than as a means to serve institutional or social objectives through labor. Disillusionment with prison education based on the medical treatment model is growing in the corrections field. The development of a body of research on prison education should be stressed, and educational programs in prisons should focus more on intellectual development.
Index Term(s): Canada; Inmate academic education; Inmate Programs; Inmate vocational training
Note: Article also appeared in Learning, Summer, 1979
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