University of Tasmania

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Stakeholder perceptions of prisoner learning

posted on 2023-05-28, 11:18 authored by Oxford, MA
This study focussed on prisoner learning within Tasmanian adult prisons. This thesis was undertaken to explore understandings and perceptions from various stakeholder groups in order to provide rich data from a range of perspectives. The major focus of this thesis was on both formal and informal learning and explored the issue of what prisoners reportedly learn from the lived experience of prison; from other prisoners, staff and service providers and seeks to understand and report stakeholders' views of what learning is 'valued'. Stakeholders who participated in this case study ranged from those in relevant institutional positions, such as Police, Community Corrections Officers, through to formerly incarcerated persons, to employees of organisations who work with prisoners in education and support services, and related groups such as members of the legal profession and politicians. Participants were chosen through purposive and snowball sampling. Qualitative data was collected through semi-structured questions using both telephone and face-to-face interviews of approximately one hour. The data indicate that despite the difficulties, there are lives which are changed in positive ways; however, unfortunately for others the experience of prison is damaging, harmful and leads to increased anti-social behaviours. The experience of incarceration through the social, organisational, environmental, individual and learning systems all have a significant impact on what prisoners learn during incarceration. Often the skills required to survive the current prison regime work against prisoners leading pro-social lives once released. Ensuring prisoners spend their time engaged in pro-social activities, facilitating community interaction and family contact, along with improving the social environment of prison are all important elements of supporting personal change. This thesis will be of interest for those involved in prisoner rehabilitation and learning, policy makers and politicians, court authorities, and members of the community who wish to be informed of how those involved in this important activity perceive the present situation.


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2018 the author Author also known as Miriam Adele Scurrah

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