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Learning Behind Bars

The Special Rapporteur on Education is collecting input for a report about education in prisons around the world to be released in June 2009.

So, what can we say about Canada?

Unfortunately, there are very few educational opportunities for prisoners here in Canada. The prison system increasingly focuses on risk management and has cut several historically successful post-secondary educational programs.

To find out more about the history and current state of education in prison, Stark Raven spoke with three people.

Bob Gaucher is a retired professor of criminology from the University of Ottawa and has been active in the prison abolition movement for many years. He was one of the first to take university courses while serving time in prison in the late 1960's. And he has spent many years working with lifers and teaching criminology to prisoners. [1:23-23:35]

Robb Johannes studied the transformative effects that education can provide to those behind bars. He researched BC’s defunct Prison Education Program as well as the connections between restorative justice and education in prison. [24:05 - 37:40]

Lara-Lisa Condello is an instructor at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology who works with women at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge, BC, on an aboriginal-centered educational program. She speaks about that program and about some of the work she is doing working with prisoners, and ex-prisoners, making the connections between education and health. [38:04 - 44:30]

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