The prison is another country: incarcerated students and (im)mobility in Australian prisons

Farley, Helen and Hopkins, Susan (2017) The prison is another country: incarcerated students and (im)mobility in Australian prisons. Critical Studies in Education, 58 (2). pp. 150-167. ISSN 1750-8487


Space, time and movement have particular meanings and significance for Australian prisoners attempting higher education while incarcerated. In a sense, the prison is another ‘world’ or ‘country’ with its own spatial and temporal arrangements and constraints for incarcerated university students. The contemporary digital university typically presupposes a level of mobility and access to mobile communication technologies which most Australian prisoners cannot access. This article examines the immobility of incarcerated students and their attempts to complete tertiary and pre-tertiary distance education courses without direct internet access. Drawing on critical mobilities theory, this article also explores attempts to address this digital disconnection of incarcerated students and where such interventions have been frustrated by movement issues within the prison. Prison focus group data suggest the use of modified digital learning technologies in prisons needs to be informed by a critical approach to the institutional processes and practices of this unique and challenging learning environment. This article also highlights the limitations and contradictions of painful immobilisation as a core strategy of Australia’s modern, expanding penal state, which encourages rehabilitation through education, while effectively cutting prisoners off from the wider digital world.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Third place winner for the USQ School-Specific 2016 Publication Excellence Awards for Journal Articles - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood. Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Open Access College
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 04:58
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2018 05:34
Uncontrolled Keywords: digital learning; immobility; incarcerated students; mobility; higher education; prisons; digital divide
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160809 Sociology of Education
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930203 Teaching and Instruction Technologies
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/17508487.2016.1255240

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