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Critical Analysis of The Research Project Available in The Field of Criminal Justice Work

1.1 Project Description: Criminology And Socio-Legal Studies

This research project is the complete illustration of the questionnaire analysis which is developed to get information on prison education. In an introductory questionnaire page, the project aims and its background has been thoroughly explained and it was distributed to various countries to get their views on educational policies designed for criminals. The major survey aim was to collect information or data that would permit us to ‘consider the idea of education of prison across Europe in regard of its consistence or capacity to give educational training that tends to addresses the necessities of the entire individual’ in accordance with the European council suggestions on the education of prison published in 1990. Thus, the obtained results would have the option to illuminate thought about whether and how to 'build-up/to create minimum provision (for educational training in prison) and to advance/promote the best and great practice for example by establishing links with different interventions in order to promote better coordination and integration of foremost rehabilitation services.

The designed questionnaire consisted of six main sections which are shown below:

  • Policies of Education and Priorities & Strategies
  • Delivery and Content of Prison Education.
  • Levels of Participants, and Distance learning & Higher Education.
  • Information Technology
  • Vocational Training
  • The Arts.

1.2 Main Research Findings: Criminology And Socio-Legal Studies 

This section will illustrate the results of the Questionnaire to review the educational prison policies which were sent to thirty European countries and out of these only 23 countries were participated, thus, the total response rate was 23%.

From the first section of the questionnaire, it was found that the responsibilities to decide educational policies for prison has been divided evenly and fairly amongst countries where such policies fall primarily within the national government responsibility, as well as, in the places wherein it is the local/regional government remit, but, in most of the cases the services for prison is involved. In this research paper, the questionnaire is designed to ask the respondents to comment and put forward their views on the aims and visions of the criminal educational policy. By using questionnaire methodology, the five key themes have emerged i.e. Education as the normalization/right, Education for supporting rehabilitation, reducing and reintegration recidivism, Provision of the person-centered method to personal development and education, Basic core skills/education focus, and security and managerial functions for education. It is also noted that there was the universal belief/acceptance that vision aims or statements are nearly consistent with a European council suggestion to develop a complete individual, however, only half respondents entirely felt confident that policies are achieving or attaining these aims.

In the second section i.e. Educational priorities, delivery & access, it is observed that vocational skills and general subjects were opted as the main focus by major respondents, however, only a few respondents considered life, arts, skills, and to the lowest extent physical education main parts of the personal education offerings. Further, in terms of the priorities (educational), literacy, general subjects, and vocational training were rated by the respondents the topmost priorities and only half respondents demarcated learning difficulties/disabilities as a major part of the prison education. The scant comments were also provided to address such difficulties. Moreover, nearly every respondent defined that all domestic prisons have the opportunity to take equal part in the education, however, the sentence length as well as requiring proof for prior attainment of education were greatly identified as the major restrictions in accessing this great opportunity.

In the information technology section, computer skills have been considered as a major part of prison education. It is also reported that basic training in computer software is also given to many prisoners and half respondents also reported that most of the prisoners have restricted internet access.

In the section Levels of Participants, and Distance learning & Higher Education, only 68% of respondents provided data or information regarding rates or numbers of participation in the education. But, how participation is reported and measured is greatly varied. Further, it is observed that there was a larger range in the participation rates specifically in education at higher (which is ranging between 0 – 5% of the population) and the standard levels (apparently ranging between lower than 1 % - approximately 50 percent of the population). It is also noted that around every respondent have equal distance learning opportunity available in the prison which is generally university-level courses.

In the arts, half respondents considered arts as a main or core educational part, however, only a few respondents agreed that other subjects have much importance or significance as compared to arts. Basically, in many prisons, a large amount of creative and art activities has been offered to criminals such as visual arts, drama, music, dance (lesser extent), etc. In prison, to deliver art education many ranges of groups are selected, instead of being delivered solely by an educational provider. It is also observed that many prisons don’t have a devoted budget of arts and thus, it made very clear that arts are subsidized and supported in a range of ways.

Lastly, in the vocational training section, nearly half of the respondents considered vocational training as the main part of prison education. The vocational subjects consisted of diverse and numerous activities, mainly related to the service sector jobs (such as hospitality and catering, retail, beauty) agriculture, trades work, welding, and crafting.

It is concluded that a proper education system has to be introduced which aims to develop the complete person by providing a complete range of educational offering which might help to achieve this aim. Through the questionnaire survey, it is also made clear that education of basic level and vocational training will remain the central priority and focus on various prison systems in Europe.

1.3 Types of the Methods: Criminology And Socio-Legal Studies 

The methodology adopted for this research project is a quantitative method in which the complete questionnaire is designed for analyzing and collecting respondent’s data. This questionnaire is made by consulting with the EPEA members and the range of practitioners and academics involved in the adult/prisoners educations. It is comprised of a total of 42 questions which is spread all across the six main sections and additional space is also provided to get open-ended comments. The MS-Word software is used to develop the questionnaire and then it is emailed to the respondents via email. Further, by using Google Docs online survey is also generated.

The quantitative research method is selected for this research project because it is more reliable and objective, the statics are used to generalize all findings, often restructures, and reduced the difficult problems to the limited number of the variables, data can be collected from a larger number of respondents, etc.

1.5 Theoretical Underpinning and Conceptual Framework: Criminology And Socio-Legal Studies 

The questionnaire is designed by reviewing the Prison Educational policies developed the EuroPris working group and all the data from questionnaire is recorded in the MS-Excel file. For assisting data entry standardisation between emailed and online version, the date entry guideline is prepared. To improve the responses which contradict each other we made small corrections to all raw data and then data entry was updated accordingly. After receiving all the responses, all the important or gathered data was extracted to conduct analysis and then conclusion and future suggestions was provided.

1.6 Strength and Key Challenge/weakness of Criminology And Socio-Legal Studies 

The project weakness is noted through aggregated responses i.e. high level and most stimulating educational opportunities are not reaching completely to few prison population parts, especially in that parts where the length of sentence is shorter or a detained pre-trial as well as the parts having limited or inadequate language skills. However, it must be noted that even fundamental education provision, provides opportunities/chances to attain transformation educational models.

The strength of this project is that educational methods have been encouraged for adults by the Recommendations (1989). The adoption of social practices to increase the literacy and educational policies among the prisoners by implementing the basic and standardized acquisition of writing and reading texts to the person-centered method which emphasizes completely on the ability of an individual to communicate in such ways which are significantly important for their self/personal development, aspirations and relationships. Further, prisoners also being able to fluently operate in current digital society and also gaining full competency in digital technology.

1.7 Limitations: Criminology And Socio-Legal Studies 

Some ambiguity has been identified in a number of the responses i.e. one of the respondents gave ‘No’ answer to the Question (What types of activities or general subjects are involved or available in terms of prison education?), however, in the next question i.e. which subjects have the topmost priority, the respondents choose ‘General Subject’. So, in this case, it is not very clear whether the respondents have misunderstood the information provided in these 2 questions, or, if no such subjects are being offered in the prison, but, they would considered it the topmost priority if such subjects offered. Due to an infrequent problem, I decided to interpret answers/responses most logically. Where this wasn’t possible, it was made clear by excluding answers from the analysis. Furthermore, in another question regarding the responsibility of entity/agency for the deciding policy, the following options were given i.e. National Government, Educational service, and Correctional/Prison Service. In this case, most of the respondents choose 2 or all three options. Hence, their responses did not make it clear whether numerous prison services are the agency or department. The same issue was also encountered in the question regarding educational delivery.

Also, there may be problems of terminology or language to consider in the future questionnaire iterations. Many terms i.e. ‘learning difficulties’ may mean different things in the different places, further the literacies definitions differ between adults and children that may need further or more inquire into how that concept would be more understood in jurisdictions of Europe.

1.8 Research Project Potential: Criminology And Socio-Legal Studies 

Many adult educational methods have been introduced by the European council in 1989, however, pedagogical methods were not directly explored in the designed questionnaire, this, it becomes too much difficult or challenging to conclude whether this proposal is being focused on or accomplished across Europe. So, it is considering as an important or significant future inquiry area. Further, in future, the efforts of valuing the prison education can be strengthened by offering the strong basis of informing policies and practices such as consider reviewing the existing prison education evaluation system to identify all desired criteria to conduct a survey and to notice how specific issues and variables are framed and also consider framing and inclusion of open-ended questions which would completely support the presentation of case studies (brief) to convey diverse prison educational models.

1.10 Project Significance and Its Contribution to Society: Criminology And Socio-Legal Studies 

It is necessary to have a dominant understanding regarding prisoner education because it will support primarily offender rehabilitation as well as decrease recidivism which conveys perhaps the less/low aspirational model than proposed in the European council recommended in 1989. This study also suggested that education should be considered much more than the tool to make any significant change, basically, it is the imperative/authoritative in its own right. Further, it is also known that Aspiration is shining through in most of the places, but, including of the ways where prisons can get easy access towards the education especially outside of the prisons could provide them maximum benefits by also including the extensive use of the ICT in both learning and teaching and activities’ diversification within the categories such as Physical Education (wherein wellbeing and yoga or training in mindfulness are also becoming beneficial and common).

This study is a great contribution to society i.e. it is providing the benefit of assessing prison educational training and how in future such endeavors/efforts can be reinforced so as to offer the most vigorous premise of information policies and practices. In this project data is gathered as the part of the future survey, it also shows the prison system’s and population’s breakdown, and basic organizational information which would provide very useful context (i.e. a total number of prisons, their size, the population of the prison, their rate, the breakdown of foreign/domestic prison. youth/adult, gender, etc.) and this study would be valuable for the respondents to indicate how educational level and investment level are characterized and estimated so as to permit even very rough comparison amongst nations.

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