Prisoners' Attitudes toward Using Distance Education Whilst in Prisons in Saudi Arabia

Article excerpt

Introduction

Most courtiers around the world, attempt to educate inmates in prison so that they will be something other than inmates during subsequent phases of their lives. Offenders come to prison with much less education than the general population. This lower education level did not compel these persons to commit crimes, but it is a factor in the criminal's decision-making process. It creates a context in which an individual sees limited options, and therefore, does not believe that he or she has much to lose. Also, lack of education often is associated with a lack of regard for self, manifested in limited respect for others and institutions. According to Johnson (2001), a number of studies confirmed that educational programs are directly responsible for recent rise in the dropout rate and the decrease in crimes because many of those who drop out of high school or fail to qualify for admission to college or university do not possess the skills necessary to compete for jobs.

Statement of Problem

In Saudi Arabia, there is a prison in each main city around the country provided with a number of classrooms and textbooks to provide a learning opportunity similar to the educational system applied outside prisons. Studying within whilst in prison is available for offenders who are interested to continue their education Material published as part of this publication, either on-line or in print, is copyrighted by the Informing Science Institute. Permission to make digital or paper copy of part or all of these works for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that the copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage AND that copies 1) bear this notice in full and 2) give the full citation on the first page. It is permissible to abstract these works so long as credit is given. To copy in all other cases or to republish or to post on a server or to redistribute to lists requires specific permission and payment of a fee. Contact Publisher@InformingScience.org to request redistribution permission. During subsequent phases beside others duties. Since this educational system inside prisons follows the overall educational system in the regular school, the learning opportunity, however, is not available for all the prisons specially those who have not attended schools before. In addition, learning and training opportunities in prisons are limited to certain subjects such as religious sessions, self-development sessions, electricity skills sessions, plumbing skills sessions which teach the basic skills of such subjects. Although, there is a lot of learning and training programs provided by some governmental agencies, schools, and community colleges, the offenders are not allowed to attend such opportunities. Therefore, this study attempts to close the gap between the prisoners and outside society by bridging learning and training opportunities to prisons. Thus, this study attempts to explore the opportunities and difficulties for applying distance education system at prison by examining the offenders' attitudes toward using distance education delivery system during subsequent phases. The distance system should provide the inmates with learning and training opportunities held outside the prison which would include formal and informal education.

Distance Education for Prisoners

In the literature, one may find that distance education has been defined from different perspectives over the years. As found in Simonson (1997), distance education can be defined as the application of telecommunications and electronic devices which enables students and learners to receive instruction that originates from some distance location. Today, distance education has become a popular technique in educational environments and communities and more accessible for every educational environments including level from K-12 to higher education. In addition, distance education can become a solution for instructional problems outside educational environments such as prisons. …