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Prison Vocational Education and Policy in the United States

A Critical Perspective on Evidence-Based Reform

Authors: Dick, Andrew J, Rich, William, Waters, Tony

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  • ISBN 978-1-137-56469-6
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Hardcover $119.99
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  • ISBN 978-1-137-56468-9
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About this book

This book explores California’s prison system in the context of vocational education reform. For prisons in the early twenty-first century, ideologies of evidence-based management meant that reform efforts to change the purpose of prisons from punishment to rehabilitation through vocational education required “evidence” to justify policy prescriptions. Yet who determines what constitutes evidence? In political environments, solutions are typically pre-conceived, which means that the nature of the evidence collected is also preconceived. As a result, key assumptions about outcomes are often wished away to show improvement and be accountable. Through a detailed analysis interspersed with stories from the authors’ experiences “behind the wall” among California’s prison population, the authors challenge the nature of evidence-based research as used in the prison environment. In the process they describe the thorny problems facing reformers.

About the authors

Andrew J. Dick (deceased) was Professor of Sociology at California State University, Chico, USA. He taught research methods, juvenile delinquency, and social problems among other classes.  He also conducted long-term research on the efficacy of peer courts as a tool for rehabilitation, as well as other sociological subjects.
William Rich is Professor Emeritus at California State University, Chico, USA, where he taught graduate courses in Educational Leadership and Curriculum in the School of Education. Additionally, he served as school district consultant in policy re-design based on participative inquiry processes that uncover local cultural biases and organizational barriers to success. He has held positions as private and public school teacher, public school administrator, and university professor.
Tony Waters is Professor of Sociology at California State University, Chico, USA, and beginning in 2016, Professor of Peace Studies at Payap University, Chiangmai, Thailand. He has taught Criminology, Social Theory, and Cultural Theory among other subjects. His past writing includes titles in classical social theory, violence, criminology, and refugees.  He has published several books on these topics, including Schooling, Childhood, and Bureaucracy (2012), and Weber's Rationalism (2015) as well as Crime and Immigrant Youth (1999), and When Killing is a Crime (2007).

Reviews

“This book’s most valuable contributions to the field of criminology consist in its descriptions and discussions of the issues of delivering education programs in this kind of climate as well as the challenges this poses for conducting research. The authors’ vignettes provide uncensored descriptions of what goes in California’s prisons that go far in explaining what is wrong with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The reader might tend to regard some of these accounts as at least exaggerated, but let me assure you that what they describe is, unfortunately, not in the least unusual.” (Norman Skonovd, Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, California State University, Chico, USA)

“This frank, funny, disturbing, and personal account of attempts to educate state prisoners steals any naïveté we might have had regarding attempts to rehabilitate criminals and integrate them back into society. Those interested in prison education and the interface between complex organizations and evidence-based practice will get an education they never expected. The interspersed vignettes bring us back to reality with a jolt.” (S. David Brazer, Associate Professor and Director of Leadership Degree Programs, Stanford University, USA)

Table of contents (18 chapters)

Table of contents (18 chapters)
  • Structure and Thesis of the Book

    Dick, Andrew j. (et al.)

    Pages 3-9

  • Applied Research in California’s Prisons

    Dick, Andrew j. (et al.)

    Pages 11-40

  • Prison Logic Meets Educational Research Logic: The Undiscussables of Evidence-Based Decision-Making

    Dick, Andrew j. (et al.)

    Pages 41-59

  • Vignette: Could the Prisoner be My Son?

    Dick, Andrew j. (et al.)

    Pages 63-67

  • Report: Vocational Education in California Prisons: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Twelve Courses

    Dick, Andrew j. (et al.)

    Pages 69-84

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-56469-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-56468-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Prison Vocational Education and Policy in the United States
Book Subtitle
A Critical Perspective on Evidence-Based Reform
Authors
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-56469-6
DOI
10.1057/978-1-137-56469-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-56468-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 319
Topics