Call out for participants in PhD

20 Jul 2015

David Honeywell, Sociology Department, University of York, writes:

"Education has long been regarded a major factor in the rehabilitative process and though many studies have been conducted in prisons across the world as to the benefits of education, little has been done on what happens to ex- prisoners who left prison to continue their education. We do know from some previous research that many encounter barriers such as poor accommodation; stigma, rejection and prejudice which are all contributing factors to the cycle of reoffending and though many will want those who have broken the law to be treated with contempt, the fact is, re-offending is still a major problem in our society.

Some will argue that sentences and prisons need to be tougher, but I can say from personal experience that the brutal prison culture of bygone years did little to deter prisoners from re-offending either. What I can say is that re-integration and having the chance to give something back can and does work – for some anyway. The truth is, offenders must want to genuinely change in order for a process of rehabilitation to have any kind of meaning or significance. And I want to find out more about those who are genuine about changing their lives through education; those who leave prison full of hope and optimism about education opening doors for the future. Studies show that there is a growing trend of ex-prisoners entering higher education with some eventually becoming researchers and lecturers.

I am currently interviewing ex-prisoners about their life stories but need more volunteers to take part in my study to find out about the experiences of ex-prisoners who are studying in higher education as a pathway to desisting from crime but also as a way of re-evaluating their sense of self to adopt new identities. Participants will be asked during the interview to talk about their own experiences of education and the impact that it has or has not had on them at different times in their lives.

The study is being carried out by myself, David Honeywell, Sociology Department, University of York and has the full support of the Prisoners’ Education Trust.

I am looking for male and female volunteers to take part in this study which is focusing on ex-prisoners in Higher Education; the barriers and opportunities experienced by learners and how education has helped them develop new identities.

To be included in this research you need to:

Be aged 18 or over.

Have been or are studying in Higher Education.

Have been guilty of an offence for which you have served a prison sentence.

Have experienced stigmatisation as a result of your ex-offender status.

As a participant in this study, you will be asked to take part in a one to one interview, lasting, approximately 60 minutes. This will be conducted at a place and time of your convenience.

Your anonymity is assured (all information will be held in the strictest confidence).

Your contribution will not only be of value to this study, but it will also benefit ex-prisoners entering education.

For more information about this study, or to volunteer for this study, please contact David Honeywell or EMAIL:

This study is being supervised by Dr Gareth. Millington: