About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4024-4028
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

IN & OUT AUTOBIOGRAPHY AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR RE-PLANNING IN CONSEQUENCE OF AN IMPRISONMENT EXPERIENCE

G. Hurkmans, E. Gillijns

Taxandria cvo Turnhout (BELGIUM)
THE MAIN GOALS OF THE PROJECT

The aim of the project is to make prisoners look back, encourage them to reflect about their past and at the same time prepare them to re-plan their future “beyond bars” by making them write. Writing helps you explore and express your inner self, it also helps you to remember memories and it allows you to sort out your thoughts and feelings. These written pieces incorporate feelings as well as facts, and the authors' own insights are an important part of the finished essays. The therapeutic value is life-changing for the prisoners, most of them have never experienced anything like this. Their expression and experience is suddenly being valued. They suddenly realize that they can and should pay attention to their own feelings and their own thoughts.

This project also aims at encouraging prisoners to enjoy this creative writing and be stimulated by collaborating, by listening to and learning from each other. The fruits of their writing often contain similar elements, ranging from frustration and fear to delight and intense creation. The writing of one’s own reminiscence, and having written these up and published, has a power and impact which is greater than just telling. Prison writing helps prisoners to understand themselves, to voice their hopes and desires, to reflect on one’s own past and future life “beyond bars”. They are also stimulated to open up and share their writings with others. They listen, learn and communicate about it.

Next to the socio-psychological aim, there is also the linguistic approach. Writing – for some in their mother tongue and for others in a foreign language - is an avenue through which the “healing process” begins. Something inside is unleashed and a creative literary embryo develops into a “competent” narrative. Sad memories and a hint of optimism are often combined to turn melancholy into joy and productivity, showing the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing.

WHAT WE ACTUALLY DID AND HOW WE DID IT

THE COURSE SYLLABUS
Our teachers have quite a few years of experience working in prisons. We teach several languages and computer courses there.
The writing course was developed at our school by Mrs. Els Gillijns, an experienced language teacher who has also been teaching in prisons for quite a while. This Dutch language course was then translated into English and shared with the other project participants.

THE CLASSES/LESSONS
The inmates were invited to come to these writing classes. Here we worked closely together with the judicial social workers in prison. Our language teachers guide the inmates through several chapters of the writing course. Each chapter focuses on one specific aspect of the inmate’s life:

1- Me and my family
2- My job and my education
3- Friendship
4- Character and emotions
5- Life behind bars

Each chapter starts with an introduction, a group discussion which should make the participants think about the subject and talk about it, share thoughts and feelings. Then the teacher goes through the example texts in the course so that the participants know exactly what is expected from them. In order to get them started, the participants get sets of questions. The answers to these questions should help them write their own text. The texts and essays are corrected by the language teachers and afterwards the corrections are talked through with the participants.
keywords: prison education.
@InProceedings{HURKMANS2012INANDOUT,
author = {Hurkmans, G. and Gillijns, E.},
title = {IN & OUT AUTOBIOGRAPHY AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR RE-PLANNING IN CONSEQUENCE OF AN IMPRISONMENT EXPERIENCE},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {4024-4028}}
TY - CONF
AU - G. Hurkmans AU - E. Gillijns
TI - IN & OUT AUTOBIOGRAPHY AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR RE-PLANNING IN CONSEQUENCE OF AN IMPRISONMENT EXPERIENCE
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 4024
EP - 4028
ER -
G. Hurkmans, E. Gillijns (2012) IN & OUT AUTOBIOGRAPHY AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR RE-PLANNING IN CONSEQUENCE OF AN IMPRISONMENT EXPERIENCE, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 4024-4028.
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