Prison education, University–Prison Partnership (UPP), Critical Reflections


Based on the author’s experience of teaching on a higher education project in two English prisons - one for men aged 18-30 and one for women aged over 21 - the article considers how critical reflection on prison norms encourages authenticity and respect in the classroom. These elements provide a foundation for students to negotiate conflicting subject positions and meanings and build critical thinking skills. Both prisons and universities are risk averse and bound by structured approaches to risk and authority that may impact the development of such relationships. The author reflects on how conflicts and collaboration in both classrooms were mediated through the her status as a former prisoner, and how that offered opportunities to disrupt notions of expertise, authority and authenticity in productive - if sometimes uncomfortable - ways.

Author Bio

Rachel Rose Tynan has a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London and has worked on prison education and criminal and social justice projects. She is currently the Policy and Practice Lead at Unlock, an independent award-winning national charity that provides a voice and support for people with convictions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


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