An historical perspective on the college education program at Oregon State Penitentiary Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/r781wm151

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  • The purpose of this investigation was to obtain a broad view of the development and structure of the program of college education conducted at the Oregon State Penitentiary (OSP) in Salem, Oregon to arrive at a means to explicate program effectiveness. This research problem encompassed the compilation and interpretation of an historical chronicle, based upon the views of program participants, including inmate-students, teachers, and administrators, directed at the history, development, and structure of the program. The specific research objectives of this investigation included the following: 1) Review of the existing literature describing schooling within prisons; 2) development of a research protocol; and 3) utilization of the developed protocol to conduct research on the development and structure of the college education program at OSP, including: a. a record of the overall effectiveness of the program and the degree to which it has been accepted, based upon the attitudes and feelings of past and present program participants, to include inmate-students, teachers, administrators, and volunteers, and b. a chronicle of the development and status of the college education program as perceived within the community in which it has been administered. These research objectives were achieved by application of a triangular methodology involving a review of appropriate literature, personal observations, and interviews with past and present staff members as well as student-inmates in the OSP college education programs. Thus it was concluded, subject to persistent communication problems that would seem to be inevitable when the principles of "academic freedom" are introduced into the closed and restrictive penitentiary environment, that the college education program at OSP has been successful in the view of inmate-students, education and prison staffs, and concerned institutional administrators. It may be foreseen that, as teachers presently employed at OSP quit or retire, all academic and vocational education at OSP, with the exception of baccalaureate programs, will in the future be contracted through existing community college programs. With the continued development of education programs within state penal institutions, communicative research should continue apace to minimize potential conflicts between the programs for the different types of programs offered.
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