Prison & School: Self-Esteem 

What's this study about?

This research closely focuses on male subjects in secondary schools and prisons from England and America to compare what are some of the common social educational programmes that are championed by education facilitators in both types of institutions. The aims of this study are to understand how educators in both institutions evaluate successful programmes by closely comparing through their perception examples of a male who has succeeded versus one who has failed on the same programme.


Within their narratives we captured how self-esteem might not be a sustainable goal for social reform, if this is the case should we be changing some of the aims of our educational curricula when reforming social behaviours?It is often assumed that educational programmes that can build one’s self-esteem is seen as advantageous in any curriculum, but is this a correct assumption given that self-esteem (like many other motivational concepts) is not consistently replicable in two individuals even if placed in a controlled environment.


Research questions:

  • Compare how social educational aspects of the curriculum are selected in American vs British cases?

  • How do teachers/facilitators of these social educational programmes evaluate them in both schools and prisons?

  • Can we identify instances where building ‘self-esteem’ as a consequence of education in both schools and prisons is not a sustainable goal?


Interdisciplinary collaboration:

Dr Liliana Donchik Belkin

Liliana Donchik Belkin is the recipient of a US-UK Fulbright Core Scholar Fellowship (2019-20) at University of Roehampton (School of Education). She is contributing to the ELM program at UoR and conducting research on UK education and youth justice systems policies and practices. She completed her PhD in Educational Administration and Leadership at New York University (2017). Liliana’s professional experience includes research and evaluation in schools and criminal justice systems, and as a central school leader and director of policy and implementation at the New York City Department of Education. Her research projects and publications have focused on policy and practice barriers to re-engagement in school for formerly incarcerated youth, transnational education policy analysis, and supporting teachers and school administrators to develop and implement instructional strategies and goals.

Miss Minnie Halinen

Minni Halinen currently holds two bachelor degrees, both in social services and education. In 2020, she graduated from the University of Roehampton (London), where she wrote her dissertation thesis on the role of boosting self-esteem in prison education. Her interest in this topic stems from placements in children’s prison in Tanzania and an adult male prison in London. Currently, she resides in Finland and works assisting people with disabilities. Minni is considering her options for undertaking a postgraduate Masters in the future. 

Interested in Participating?

Seeking teachers working with male students and prisoners in the US & UK

If you are interested in participating in this research or receiving information about publications, and dissemination projects please get in touch.


© Melissa R. Jogie, April 2021