Enhancing Female Prisoners’ Access to Education


The rate of female incarceration continues to surge, resulting in over 714,000 women currently being held behind bars worldwide. Females generally enter carceral facilities with low educational profiles, and educational programming inside is rarely a high priority. Access to education is a proven contributor to women’s social and economic empowerment and can minimise some of the obstacles they encounter after being released from custody. Support for the intellectual potential of incarcerated female ‘students’ can address intersecting inequalities that impede access to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure.  Policymakers, academics and activists concerned with gender equality must begin by focusing on academic and vocational program development for female prisoners, built through strong community partnerships, and inclusive of trauma informed supports.

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Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2020-02-25
Pages:139 to 149
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How to Cite
Ryder, J. A. (2020) “Enhancing Female Prisoners’ Access to Education”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 9(1), pp. 139-149. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v9i1.1468.

Author Biography

St. John's University
 United States

Judith Ryder directs the Criminology & Justice Masters program, Sociology & Anthropology Department, St. John’s University (New York City). She is also founder and director of the university’s Inside-Out Project, in which incarcerated and free students study together as peers. Her scholarship focuses on female delinquency and social control, trauma and violence, and the social construction of substance abuse. Dr. Ryder is a member of the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Women and Crime and is currently conducting research on families and violence in the United Kingdom. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (University of Glasgow) and at the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), International Faculty Development program on women, tradition, and revolution in the Arab world (Amman, Jordan).