Creative space - creating space - digital technology in a women's prison : a case study

Barz, Manuela (2017) Creative space - creating space - digital technology in a women's prison : a case study. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


Prison education has the potential to transforms offenders. It forms part of prison regimes for female offenders. At the beginning of the 21st century prison education and basic skills development are at the centre of rehabilitation debates. Computer technology has transformed human communication and interactions rendering digital literacy a basic skill in the 21st century and part of the rehabilitation agenda. However, prison education is not just entangled within rehabilitation debates. It is also an economic and prison security debate. Computer technology is already in use to manage offenders in local institutions and within wider prison and probation networks. Its application in prison education has been slow due to security imperatives of prisons. However, it has great potential to, on one hand, enhance learning opportunities for prisoners and, on the other, create inclusive prison classrooms that account for the diversity of its learners.

The focus of this thesis is the application of computer technology in prison education for women. It, however, extends its view outside of ICT prison classrooms to account for the actors involved in shaping local classroom contexts. The thesis is not concerned with teaching techniques nor does it attempt to provide teaching guidelines. Using an actor-network approach, it, however, analysis how groups such as the female offender are stabilised to inform local procedures. It understands prison induction as start points of (in)dividual prison learner journeys. It examines closely the technologies and procedures that create educational data fragments - ‘virtual’ educational risk and needs potentialities - used to allocate learner in classes, but, more importantly, to create tightly managed, pre-formatted learning spaces. It, further, analyses how tutors and women appropriate those pre-designed spaces and provides detailed recommendations for the implementation of computer technology in prison classrooms for women.

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