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University Branches in Prison: The Italian Case

University Branches in Prison: The Italian Case
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Author(s): Daniela Ronco (University of Turin, Italy)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 21
Source title: Cases on Technologies for Teaching Criminology and Victimology: Methodologies and Practices
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Raffaella Sette (University of Bologna, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-872-7.ch015


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This chapter introduces the Italian experience about university in prison. Since ten years many faculties all over the country signed cooperation agreements with penitentiary administrations to pursue and realize the prisoners right to study at the highest levels. Prison management engage itself to warrant structural possibilities to study: quietly sections where prisoners can concentrate while preparing exams, entry license to professors and didactic materials, personnel engaged in monitoring detainees programs of rehabilitation through study. University carries out academic tutorship to support study careers and individual preparations to exams and degree. A bilateral connection links the two institutions: on the one hand, university forwards a service to warrant the prisoners’ right to study. Prison, on the other hand, is an important matter of study for academics (particularly to specific branches: criminology, sociology of law, sociology of deviance, penal and penitentiary law, psychology). This paper offers a national survey about these experiences and concentrate about a specific case: the University of Turin inside the local prison, where Faculties of Law and Political Sciences forward, since 1998, a didactic project, with the involvement of professors and assistants in lectures and exams inside the prison. A specific section is reserved to a certain number of prisoners determined in carrying out a study program, till the degree. The aim is to examine how academic studies may be considered as a specific opportunity to put the rehabilitation ideal into practice, as the article 27 of the Italian Constitution asserts (“punishment must aim to re-education”). Education, combined with work, religion, leisure activity, sport and family contacts, is the means to pursue such function. The university involvement into these projects makes possible a better comprehension about life in prison and an active participation into implementation of detainees people’s rights.

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