ADIR - L'altro diritto

ISSN 1827-0565

Education in prison
Legal and sociological aspects

Monia Coralli, 2002


Aim of this work is to analyse education in jail. This research has been carried out always keeping in mind the fact that education is above all a constitutional right of the individual, and only after this it is part of the reeducational treatment: an assumption often underestimated by the laws and the penitentiary routines.

In the first chapter a legal history of education in prison is presented. From the 1931 enforcement regulation to the debate in the Constituent Assembly, from the 1975 law n. 354 to the 2000 D.P.R. n. 230, all the norms concerning education are attentively questioned. The chapter ends with a comparison between the penitentiary rules now in force and the principles declared in the Constitution.

The second chapter is an analysis of the organisation of primary and secondary schools in prison, before and after the general reform of school organisation of the 1999 law n. 9. Also here the penitentiary laws are compared to the constitutional principles about education and sentence enforcement. In the second chapter there is also an analysis of the laws concerning prison libraries, considered both as facilities for the students and as a prerequisite for the development of every individual and for the right of the convicts to read.

The third charter is entirely dedicated to university in prison. Both the relevant laws and some actual experiences are examined, with a particular concern to the "Tuscan University Pole" of Prato prison. This reality is analysed from its birth on October 2000 to its contemporary situation, being the author of this research the representative of the voluntary service association "L'Atro Diritto" and tutor for the legal courses at the University Pole.

In the fourth and final chapter the actual situation of education in Italian prisons is surveyed through a questionnaire set up with the Research Office of the Penitentiary Administration Department (DAP) and sent to every Italian prison. After describing the ratio of the survey the returned questionnaires, 143 on the 205 sent, are analysed and the conclusion of the research are drawn.

Throughout the whole research the actual situation of education in prison in Italy is questioned, and the fact that education in prison is considered to be only part of the reeducational treatment, and not a constitutional right, is firmly exposed.