Knowing that we are making a difference: A case for critical prison programming

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper considers a peer education initiative through which incarcerated men provide English as a Second Language instruction to other incarcerated men. Programs such as this are sometimes criticized for objectifying and exploiting their incarcerated participants. I argue that prison programs that support the demonstration of competence and meaningful collective action can bring out the best in their students, transform the climate of the institutions that house them, and promote progressive social change. This study suggests how thoughtfully designed prison programs can create communities committed to personal growth, social responsibility, and engaged citizenship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpecial Issue
Subtitle of host publicationThe Beautiful Prison
EditorsAustin Sarat
PublisherJAI Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781783509676
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameStudies in Law Politics and Society
ISSN (Print)1059-4337

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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