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Keywords:

  • Prison education;
  • informal learning;
  • social capital

Abstract: The status of prison educational programmes is described as ‘marginal’ (Reuss 1999, p.114) and prisons are portrayed in the worst terms as ‘human dustbins’ (Parkinson 1997, p.16). Whilst inside accounts of prison life are rare (Scraton and Moore 2006) some ethnographic reports from practitioners working in prisons have been published (Reuss 1999, 2000, 2003; Pawson 2000). This article adds to the corpus, presenting a personal account of teaching based on six years' experience working in Maghaberry Prison in Northern Ireland. Successful pedagogical approaches as well as practical inconveniences faced daily by educationalists working in this environment are presented.