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Working Title of PhD: A Comparative Analysis of Education in American and Scottish Prisons

Year commenced PhD study: 2020             

Institution/Organisation: University of Strathclyde

Funding Source: University Student Excellence Award Studentship                                          

Full or part-time: full time

PhD Supervisors: Beth Weaver and Cara Jardine

Synopsis of PhD:

My project is a qualitative study that will examine prison education in the United States and Scotland. In particular, the study will attempt to discover the objectives, methods, and motivators of various correctional education programs and how education impacts individuals’ lives during and after release.

Using semi-structured interviews with participants in prison education and prison administrators, this research will attempt to fill a gap in the existing research by comparatively analysing institutional and personal motivations for developing and participating in prison education programs.

The study will also look at factors that may influence an individuals’ motivation to participate and education and how this may impact their ability to learn and change. Additionally, this research will take a more critical approach to the idea of “transformation” as a result of prison education and ask whether individual transformation is truly enough to impact a persons’ life during and after incarceration.

As my research is taking place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the researcher will also consider the impact that restrictions are having on prison education. My hope is that, by considering the differences in policy in both the U.S. and Scotland, this study will provide unique insight into prison education that can help inform future policy decisions.



University of Strathclyde


University of Strathclyde
School of Social Work and Social Policy
Level 6, Lord Hope Building
141 St James Road
Glasgow G4 OLT

Research Themes

Globalisation, Harm and Social Justice

Punishment, Citizenship and Communities

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