Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2017 Issue »

    A Crime for a Crime?

    The Landscape of Correctional Education in the United States

    LYNETTE N. TANNIS
    During his 1894 “Blessings of Liberty and Education” address, Frederick Doug­lass asserted:

    If a man is without education . . . he is a poor prisoner without hope . . . Education, on the other hand, means emancipation . . . To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature. It is to deny them the means of freedom and the rightful pursuit of happiness, and to defeat the very end of their being.

    Perhaps this view of education as freedom is why some people believe that those who are serving time in carceral settings should not be exposed to educational programs. According to Werner (cited in Messemer, 2011), educating prisoners offers individual empowerment—a perceived contradiction to notions of safety and security and the need to make inmates feel disempowered (Eisenberg, 2016). Why would we attempt to free someone we’ve just confined? First, we must recognize that the majority of crimes for which adults are convicted and children are adjudicated are non-violent offenses (Petteruti, Schindler, & Ziedenberg, 2014). Furthermore, with the exception of the 2,500 children (Rovner, 2016) and 160,000 adults (Nellis, 2013) in the United States who are currently serving life sentences without the possibility of parole, the majority of inmates will one day return to our communities (Tannis, 2014). If we harbor anger for the crimes they’ve committed and do nothing but “warehouse” them, a term frequently used, what do we expect from them and for our society? When one is convicted of a crime, should we in turn retaliate by committing one of the greatest crimes, as noted by Douglass—deny them an education?

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    Lynette N. Tannis is an adjunct lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), where she teaches the newly designed course Educating Incarcerated Youth: Practice, Research, and Policy and conducts research for HGSE’s Juvenile Justice Education Research Initiative. Her work as an adjunct lecturer, researcher, and independent education consultant focuses on ensuring that juvenile justice educators are well equipped to provide students in their care with a high-quality education. She is the author of Educating Incarcerated Youth: Exploring the Impact of Relationships, Expectations, Resources and Accountability (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and is recognized as a national expert on education for juveniles in carceral settings.
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    Spring 2017 Issue

    Abstracts

    Responding to “Cross-Pollinating Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and Universal Design for Learning: Toward an Inclusive Pedagogy That Accounts for Dis/Ability”
    A HARVARD EDUCATIONAL REVIEW FORUM
    H. SAMY ALIM, SUSAN BAGLIERI, GLORIA LADSON-BILLINGS, DAVID H. ROSE, DJANGO PARIS, and JOSEPH MICHAEL VALENTE
    Where Are All the Black Teachers?
    Discrimination in the Teacher Labor Market
    DIANA D’AMICO, ROBERT J. PAWLEWICZ, PENELOPE M. EARLEY, and ADAM P. MCGEEHAN
    Putting Race on the Table
    How Teachers Make Sense of the Role of Race in Their Practice
    AMANDA J. TAYLOR
    A Crime for a Crime?
    The Landscape of Correctional Education in the United States
    LYNETTE N. TANNIS
    Complex Sentences
    Searching for the Purpose of Education Inside a Massachusetts State Prison
    CLINT SMITH
    Critiquing Critical Pedagogies Inside the Prison Classroom
    A Dialogue Between Student and Teacher
    ERIN L. CASTRO and MICHAEL BRAWN
    The Problem Child
    Provocations Toward Dismantling the Carceral State
    ERICA R. MEINERS
    Harvard Educational Review’s Commitment to Justice and Equity at a Time of Political and Social Change
    From the Editors

    Book Notes

    Continuity in Children’s Worlds
    Melissa M. Jozwiak, Betsy J. Cahill, and Rachel Theilheimer

    An Everyone Culture
    Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, with Matthew L. Miller, Andy Fleming, and Deborah Helsing