Prison Education, Psychology, Compassion, Arts & Rehabilitation, Spirituality
In a project with long-term prisoners at HMP Dumfries, Scotland, tutors and students explore the notion and application of compassion, focusing in particular on the ways in which understanding compassion enables learning – not just the learning of academic subjects but also of interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. The project highlights the benefits of teaching a so-called extracurricular subject, at the same time as revealing its centrality to learning in the first place. A lack of adequate teaching time in prison, and the fact that compassion is not considered a core subject in education, are both cited as obstacles in consolidating the work of the project. The benefits of teaching compassion - emotional, intellectual and spiritual - was made clear through written and verbal student feedback. Three short workshops highlighted the enormous potential in developing and establishing compassion as both subject and practice in prison education. It is hoped that practitioners and researchers will support the expansion of this work throughout prisons.
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