Prisoner Education Debates in Congress: Elite Discourse and Policymaking

Prisoner Education Debates in Congress: Elite Discourse and Policymaking

Prisoner Education Debates in Congress: Elite Discourse and Policymaking

Prisoner Education Debates in Congress: Elite Discourse and Policymaking

Synopsis

Yates examines the role of congressional debates in generating support for current prisoner education policy. He explores the 1994 Crime Bill and 2008 Second Chance Act debate transcripts to discover political stakeholders¿ attempts to influence and maintain social policy through the creation of legitimizing myths. These include the idea that prisoners are hopelessly flawed or that they have potential only as human capital in the marketplace. Education, when available, is often limited, narrow, and vocational. Counter-hegemonic discourse is also described as well as alternative educational paths such as critical pedagogy. This study indicates that key political leaders with seemingly disparate ideological backgrounds display surprisingly similar attitudes toward prisoners.

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