Social Practices or Functional Skills? Rehabilitation or Rights? An Analysis of Scottish Prison Learning Contracts


  • Sarah Galloway University of Stirling



Prison Education, Adult Education, Social Practice, Literacies Learning, Desistance, Marketisation


This paper critically examines some of the research arising from prison contexts internationally, questioning the notion that adult learning might serve the purpose of rehabilitation or encouraging desistance from crime. These discussions are utilised to inform a strategy for conducting a high-level documentary analysis of historical and current commercial contracts, held between colleges of further education and the Scottish Prison Service, for the delivery of prisoner education in Scotland. Here I suggest that leadership from the further education sector and the prison service in Scotland have made use of favourable national adult learning policies, co-creating commercial contracts that might take forward a social practice approach to prison learning. However, I also question the educational basis for both the commercial contracting of adult learning and the notion that adult learning should encourage desistance from criminality.


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How to Cite

Galloway, S. (2019). Social Practices or Functional Skills? Rehabilitation or Rights? An Analysis of Scottish Prison Learning Contracts. Encyclopaideia, 23(53), 67–80.