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Coventry presentation final 14-11-13


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Lecture to criminology students at Coventry University - shows findings from previous research and emerging findings from current PhD

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Coventry presentation final 14-11-13

  1. 1. Prison Education, Higher Education and Desistance Coventry University 14th November 2013 Anne Pike, The Open University
  2. 2. Outline of Lecture • • • • Introductions Prison Education HE Distance Learning Previous research – IT issues -----------• My current research – postrelease issues • Discussion/exercise
  3. 3. Me • • • • • Ex Prison Teacher Ex Ofsted inspector Open University lecturer Researcher/ Consultant Passionate about the benefits of appropriate education for prisoners You?
  4. 4. Adult Prison Education Distance Learning HE Independent Providers (OU, NEC, Stonebridge etc.) OU Access L2+ courses Occasional day release to College Progression Limited taught L3 provision Basic Classroom Education L2 Core Curriculum Skills Funding Agency’s Contracted Providers L1 Literacy and Numeracy NOT INCLUDING TRAINING WORKSHOPS OLASS4
  5. 5. Distance Learning in Prison Outside World Prison Media Prison staff Education Dept Public Student OU tutor Other students OU Virtual Campus/ Intranet VLE Internet Other inmates Coordinator in prison Original source: Higher Education in Prison: Just another chapter in the bigger picture? Peter Mortimer, Cned-Éifad, France
  6. 6. Previous research findings • • • • • Physical environment detrimental to learning Vital support from dedicated staff (important other) Conflicting institutional visions of rehabilitation ‘Working’ v ‘Learning’ prison Student identity reduces isolation (and more) Adams & Pike (2008) Evaluating empowerment and control. BERA Conference Online at Pike and Adams (2012) Digital exclusion or learning exclusion? Research in Learning Technology, 20(4), Online at
  7. 7. Physical Environment Access and use of technology: inversely related to physical security restrictions Cat A has intranet & laptops, Cat C refused graphics calculator, Cat D not even a DVD Personal space is at a premium: “this bed space is mine and what takes place in here is me and anything else is outside of that” (Duncan) Technology-supported learning? “you rip off a little white piece of paper and stick it over the mistake and write on it like it’s a little bit of Tipp-ex” (Freddie)
  8. 8. Support from dedicated staff • “P assessed me. He kept following me, insisting on more and more exams. I told him I couldn’t do it. He said I had the potential. …P was like a father to me - I still remember him.”
  9. 9. Support from dedicated staff “… They were enthusiastic and fired my imagination… the astronomy tutor was brilliant – looked like a biker – pictures of telescopes, stars – very interesting to see ‘the real thing’ in pictures instead of books. Made the subject come alive.” [5, 4]
  10. 10. Conflicting Institutional Visions 1 Prison service: “Purposeful activity keeps the guys amused” Prison education: “Can you read? Then you’re educated. As far as anything further, there’s not a lot of support” (student) “it’s never very clear in here who’s responsible for what. My concern is the learner… they are falling completely through the cracks” (education staff)
  11. 11. Conflicting Institutional Visions 2 Careers Advice Service regimented: “right next, recycling, want to do that?” Distance Learning providers expect internet access “most courses are fully online now – we try our best and we do provide alternatives but it’s getting harder” Students just want something! “just give us a room, give us a corner…. even old computers with a word-processor would be OK”
  12. 12. ‘Learning’ Prison v ‘Working’ Prison Learning culture Working culture Dedicated session times No time or space for learning Peer mentoring encouraged No peer contact Supported internet/intranet access Very limited access to IT Good communication across stakeholders Security issues reduce access Dedicated distance learning coordinator No coordination of learning Progression monitored Students invisible Applications well-organised Funding difficult to find Stakeholders work together Conflicting institutional visions
  13. 13. Student Identity. “It makes me feel a lot more like a human being. I’m not a number in a box, I’m an individual, I’m allowed to share and expand my mind” “I’m moving away from where I was” “I just can’t wait to get out and use the skills that I’ve learnt and try and put this behind me and I shouldn’t say this about jail and it sounds a cliché but jail is where I’ve found myself”
  14. 14. Activity 1 • What are the key messages in these findings which suggest that HE distance learning may be facilitating desistance? • Discuss with you neighbour – list 3 or 4 things
  15. 15. Current Research Jack Mezirow Qu 1. In what ways is Prison-based Higher level Distance Learning (PHDL) transformative? • Does it lead to personal change? • If so, how does that change relate to hopes and aspirations for future prospects? Qu 2. What role does PHDL play in facilitating desistance? •After release, how does PHDL relate to:- personal skills for managing life? - social and economic integration? Albert Bandura
  16. 16. Method Longitudinal, ethnographic approach (thematic analysis):Pilot: 10 ex-prisoner student interviews In-prison: 51 students due for release (12 DNE*) in 8 prisons Post-release: 38 students for follow-up (8 DNE*) 26 were re-interviewed (up to 5 times in first year) Macro perspective: National Surveys + … Supplementary data: 50+ staff/relatives, policy documents … * DNE=Did not engage with learning (for comparison)
  17. 17. In-prison Participants 51 Participants across 8 prisons 35% 30% 40 men* 25% 20% 32 learners (10 DNE) 1-10 Convictions Sentences 2-20 years 15% 10% 5% 0% * compared with Male Population (NOMS statistics 2011) 11 women 9 learners (2 DNE) All single conviction Sentences 3-12 years 15-17 18-20 21-24 25-29 Males in prison 30-39 40-49 Male sample 50-59 60+
  18. 18. Qualifications before prison (follow-up participants) A-Level+ 8% A-Level 24% Higher 5% None 29% Low GCSE 8% GCSE+ 16% GCSE 10%
  19. 19. Elements of Transformative PHDL Success, choice, enthusiasm, time, focus, maturation, ability Determination, self-confidence, self-esteem, student identity Motivation Resilience Family, tutors, drug rehab, employers, charities, library, IT access, peers External Support Change, Positive Attitude, Aspiration and Hope
  20. 20. It changed the way I think … Now I’ve grown up a little bit and doing distance learning, I’ve learnt that certain things have to be done … my attitude to work and learning has completely changed. Steve (22) It focused me. This assignment, this book, my own space, and I actually believe I can achieve whatever I put my mind to Nina (22) I wasn’t forced to do it. I had the choice – that’s made me successful and changed the way I think about it. Rob (21) I’m calm and focused. I’ve never been this focused in my life before. Chad (27) I didn’t think I was capable especially essays and stuff and it was a bit heavy but it was good… It opened doors and made me realise I can study at this level. Brian (27)
  21. 21. Providing hope and aspiration … Education is transformational because it gives you hope which is all that I ask for. Fred (44) Initially I just challenged myself to see if I could do it. But then I realised … I’d like to get a degree and make my mum proud Ahmed (37) Starting the OU has given me hope and a fresh start with other aspects of life James (28) I’m going to go to college to train to be a horse farrier … my family (Travellers) have 400 horses and no blacksmith Peter (22) I’ve been through the care system, alcohol and the prison system. My head’s screwed on now and I want to help people. I want to do something that will make a difference Rob (21)
  22. 22. So … Is Prison-based Higher level Distance Learning transformative? Yes, with the right mix of ingredients it can encourage personal change, providing hope and aspiration for a better future … BUT what happens on release from prison?
  23. 23. Post-release Anne Pike PhD findings – work in progress Disillusionment Stigma Technology Chaos Frustration
  24. 24. Some don’t make it Fred (44) “Last time, I was released to Rehab in Sxxxxx. It was the best 6 months of my life, finding myself again. Everything was new to me. People wanted to be my friend for who I was, not for what I had in my pocket. Then I went to live on my own but I wasn’t ready and I went back onto drugs.”
  25. 25. Brian (27) • • • • • • • • Left school at 15 – just before GCSEs Been to prison 4 times before (drugs, burglary) Latest sentence 2.5 year Done 4 DL courses: L2 and L3 Business management, OU Access, A level Property Development Plans on release: “I still have my van and my tools” Get back to self-employment. Live with mum Long-term aim: To settle down and lead a normal life. Feels confident – has learnt a lot about self-employment and self and feels set up. He will have a mentor to support (Pxxxxx scheme).
  26. 26. On release + 2 months. Van broke down and no money to mend it. Argument with mother, now sleeping on sister’s couch. Mentor has prevented recall by driving him to probation. + 6 months. Doing painting and decorating and odd jobs but increasingly difficult to find work without a van. The mentor has helped find a flat which he is now sharing with his new partner. Support has now ceased. + 7 months. Rent on the flat is too high for earnings so must stop work and claim benefits. On the waiting list for council flat. “I know I want to work … so I’ll get there” + 8 months. Wants to start studying again with Open University. No credit on phone. No text facility with the Open University. Struggling to cope but still hopeful. + 9 months. Enrolled on science course, bought some second-hand GCSE science books to read in preparation. +12 months. Course going well. Content
  27. 27. In-prison stage of slide model Anne Pike PhD findings Reflection Realisation / Aspiration Barriers to study Anne Pike PhD findings Motivation Support
  28. 28. The Slide Model Anne Pike PhD findings Structure Through the gate support Bridges across at various levels
  29. 29. Why is it worth it? “Unfortunately I can’t remember this woman’s name, but she made it quite plain and she was a godsend. She said “you won’t know it, but there will come a point where you look back and you won’t recognise the person that you were, and it will be because you’ve persevered and you’ve learnt through education. I wish you well” and then she signed the entry fee to the OU. And that was my first one.” Daniel (BSc (hons.)) He’s now a respected member of society, a manager in a large company with hundreds of people working for him
  30. 30. Thank-you, any questions? @Annepike2 #prisonered Mobile: +44 07711 398545