Prison libraries, desistance, informal learning, critical librarianship, prison education
There has been little examination of how criminological theory may help to inform library practice in correctional settings. This article takes steps to address this deficit by presenting a new and timely approach to prison library research. It suggests that situating prison library research within the disciplines of librarianship, education and criminology can lead to a deeper understanding of the contribution made by libraries to the lives of those in prison. The authors propose a theoretical model which draws on theories of desistance, informal learning theories and critical librarianship. This model can be used by both library and education researchers and practitioners to build a body of evidence on the value of the prison library, and may act as a roadmap to good practice. It is an initial framework, intended to be adapted and refined as more empirical evidence is collected in this area.
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