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.
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