Fengselsopplæringens integrerende funksjoner - En kvalitativ studie
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In this sociological master thesis I explore the integrative functions of prison education in a Norwegian high-security prison. The aim of the study is to identify and discuss integrative, structural functions in the prison education system. I draw upon Émile Durkheim’s theories of social integration to explain the integrative functions of prison education at a macro level, how the educational subsystem coordinates with the prison subsystem in prison education, and how prison education has integrative functions towards inmates re-integrating in society. I combine structural functionalist theories with a conceptual framework gathered from Bodil Ravneberg’s study of prison education in the Norwegian Correctional Service, and show how the integrative functions of prison education works differently towards dissimilar categories of prisoners. By combining this framework with structural functionalist theory, my analysis provides a nuanced understanding of integrative functions in prison education. The analysis is based upon a methodological triangulation between three qualitative interviews with teachers working in a Norwegian high-security prison, and official governing documents for prison education in Norway. I find that the integrative functions of prison education consists of rehabilitative processes and some forms of normative regulations towards the inmates. The normative regulations are primarily expressed through the application of standardized curriculums, the inmates’ acceptance of formal qualifications, as well as providing a meaningful content and a direction for the inmates in the educational context. In the Norwegian Correctional Service, rehabilitation of offenders is presented as a core idea, with prison education as an important part of the rehabilitation. I show that rehabilitative processes are an important part of the integrative functions of prison education, although the educational system does not present rehabilitation as their primary goal. As a part of the social structure in prison education, these integrative functions contribute to the inmates’ acquiring of accepted roles in a social whole. An important prerequisite for the integrative functions is a high level of coordination between the prison and the educational system. The coordination between the two subsystems takes place at a national, regional and local level, and I find that the local coordination is the most important part regarding the integrative functions. One of the main conclusions in my study is that the integrative functions have important variations between different categories of prisoners, with the integrative functions towards foreign prisoners providing an explicit example of this.