Educational Imprisonment? Subjectification within a Finnish prison rehabilitation wing for women

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Finnish imprisonment is currently undergoing an ideological and practical reformation. Prisons are being reconceptualized as learning environments of crime-free life, where prisoners are supposed to learn the life skills of a responsible, active and empowered individual. The new prison concept entails the physical arrangement of imprisonment (i.e. prison architecture and design) as well as the activities and functions within prison, such as rehabilitation, education and work.

In her PhD research project, Liila Holmberg explores the intersection of education and governmentality within the ’new kind of imprisonment’. Through an ethnographic approach, she studies the ideals and practices of the new kind of prison. What kind of educational space is the new prison, and how are the prisoners expected to conduct themselves as ethical subjects within it?

Holmberg’s project started in 2018 in Tampere University’s Faculty of Education and Culture. The project consists of ethnographic fieldwork, document analysis and administrative interviews.