Perspectives on Correctional Education: Engaging the Voices of Instructors and Incarcerated Students

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Correctional education plays a vital role in rehabilitating incarcerated individuals in the correctional system in Alberta, Canada. Which types of programs and correctional learning experiences impact and facilitate this rehabilitation is largely unknown. Through a case study, I gained the perspectives of both incarcerated learners and their instructors to develop a detailed understanding of learning experiences at one Alberta correctional centre. Participants were asked to reflect on their teaching and learning experiences within several correctional education programs. In order to understand which correctional education programs were distinguished as effective by study participants, the four dimensions of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains – factual knowledge, conceptual knowledge, procedural knowledge, and metacognitive knowledge – were used to frame the incarcerated students’ learning experiences in each program (Forehand, 2005). Participants’ views provided a deeper understanding of how factual, conceptual, procedural, and metacognitive knowledge acquisition provide students with diverse skill sets, increased self-confidence, and the tools to plan for a future once released from the correctional system. The research also revealed the instructors’ intentions to create an ideal learning environment through their curriculum and instructional design, and their observations on the impact of the curriculum on knowledge acquisition and application. Participants shared how education can serve as a catalyst for behavioural change through complex and sometimes difficult learning experiences. Drawing from the theoretical frameworks of transformational learning and desistance theory, this study illuminates participant perspectives on how education impacts student self-concept, supports desistance from crime, and, by extension, contributes to the rehabilitative process and decreasing recidivism. This research endeavours to inform learners in correctional centres, instructors who teach correctional education courses, the correctional and educational systems that administer correctional education, and society as a whole.
Adult Learning, Adult Education, Correctional Education, Inmate Education, Incarcerated Students, Inmate Students, Correctional Educators, Correctional Teacher, Correctional Programs, Desistance from Crime, Transformational Learning Theory, Desistance Theory, Blooms Taxonomy
White Prosser, C. (2021). Perspectives on Correctional Education: Engaging the Voices of Instructors and Incarcerated Students (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from