Be a student in jail

Be a student in prison. The escape from the top. A book by Fanny Salane (La documentation française, Coll ” Studies & Research “, 2010)

If the school has its place today in prison it was a long time held out of her breast : if there are structures of elementary level from 1815, the first teachers are recruited (marginally) in 1833 (Guizot law of 1833 and circular Rémusat 1840). It must, however, wait for the aftermath of the Second world War that the idea of setting up a real educational service in prisons is increasing : in 1985, the right to education is open to all inmates. The recognition of the legitimacy and usefulness of the education in prison (traced in chapter 1) assumes a general evolution of the gaze and of the social and political issues of education in prison. It was necessary to pass the educational function of the prison to the thinking of an educational function in prison. If it will, of course, elementary, higher education in prison is still addressing a minority of people. So if in 2008 46 684 inmates (one-quarter of the adult population spent in prison this year) have followed a general training, among them 6/10 have received a basic skills (” literacy “, the fight against” illiteracy “, French as a foreign language, refresher or preparation of a certificate of general education), 3/10 were prepared diplomas type CAP-BEP, this is only 1/10 of the detainees who have prepared a diploma who have dedicated themselves to degrees from the baccalaureate level and beyond (9.3% bachelor’s degree or the diploma of access to university studies and 2.1% of higher education degrees).

The research of Fanny Salane is interested in the persons detained or incarcerated at the time of the investigation, accused and convicted, enrolled in courses of higher level : students preparing for academic degrees and patents of senior technicians. The student population in prison, compared to that of the total prison population in general is well a specific population. This is demonstrated by the author. Interviews and questionnaires complement each other in a way heuristic drawing the contours of a population of prisoners-students in the light of the total prison population in general. 64 men and 7 women responded to the questionnaire and 44 men and 1 woman to the interviews. Among the detainees-students who responded to the survey, prisoners aged 50 and over are overrepresented. Profile criminal and prison inmate-students should be noted, usually convicted of crimes with heavy sentences (the length of the average sentence is more than 15 years), only 6% of the population was sentenced to less than five years of imprisonment compared to 64% of the prisoners. Last observation : the population of the author includes a lesser proportion of foreign-born persons.

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