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Video, 5 mins

Philosophy in Prison: promoting philosophical education in prisons

University of Sheffield academic Jim Chamberlain works with chairty Philosophy in Prison to develop, design and deliver a 4-week prison Philosophy course.

Philosophy in Prison is a charity dedicated to promoting philosophical education in prisons and exploring the practical and philosophical principles that this involves. Jim Chamberlain from our Department of Philosophy - also a Trustee of Philosophy in Prison - is supporting knowledge exchange and positive change for prisoners.

In collaboration with Philosophy in Prison, Jim has developed an ongoing Knowledge Exchange project, which has so far included designing and delivering Philosophy courses in HMP Stafford and HMP Maidstone. The project employs conversation as a methodology for doing philosophy. In this way, it makes philosophy accessible to a wide range of prisoners, including those with few or no educational achievements, learning disabilities, and with English as a second or third language. 

Some of the learning from this project will feed into a major research project, led by Philosophy in Prison, called 'Prison Voices'. This explores how the criminal justice system may silence the voices of those engaged in it, how and why this constitutes an injustice, and how this is a particular concern within the prison system. It considers how this kind of injustice affects its victims and its perpetrators, and ways in which, by education or management or training or by other means, it may be alleviated. The project will culminate in a day-long, multi-disciplinary conference at the University of Sheffield, funded by the British Academy, which will take place on the 5th of November 2024.

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