Introduction: the problem of the low level of education of persons serving sentences in correctional institutions is worldwide. In addition, offenders with a low level of general and digital literacy, being isolated from society, find themselves unprepared for the conditions of a rapidly changing world. All this creates conditions for increasing social marginalization of prisoners and, as a result, spreading recidivism. Therefore, obtaining education by convicts and increasing their educational level is one of the effective methods of resocialization and reducing recidivism rates; besides, it creates opportunities to increase their competitiveness in the labor market after release. Multi-level convict training programs are implemented in penitentiary institutions of most countries. It is most difficult to realize convicts’ right to higher education in institutions of the penal system that execute punishments related to the isolation of convicts from society, therefore, the emphasis is placed on this category. Purpose: to study the possibility for prisoners to receive higher education with the help of distance technologies in foreign correctional institutions. Research objectives: to systematize empirical data on penitentiary systems of foreign countries, models and forms of distance learning of convicts undertaking higher education programs; to identify sources of funding and incentives for convicts to receive higher education in places of deprivation of liberty; to analyze problems of implementing higher education programs in penitentiary institutions of foreign countries. Methods: dialectical method, used to consider interrelated and interdependent concepts “education” and “correction”, principles, and requirements of distance learning of persons held in penitentiary institutions of foreign countries; formal legal and hermeneutic methods, applied to analyze legislative and other regulatory documents on the topic; logical semantic method, used to determine the essence and significance of forms and methods of distance learning that have an effect on convicts; structural and comparative legal methods, applied to identify stages and features of the development of distance learning in higher education programs in penitentiary systems of foreign countries. Results: the study makes it possible to evaluate models of vocational education in a number of foreign countries aimed at widening convicts’ abilities and knowledge in order to guarantee their employment after release. Conclusion: the author comes to the conclusion that most countries recognize the value of prison education as a way of reintegration of convicts. Education is part of a wider range of proposed activities that are aimed at achieving a comprehensive goal of correcting them and reducing recidivism rates. Improving the educational level of convicts contributes to their competitiveness after release. Educational programs are implemented in various forms: from face-to-face non-credit workshops conducted by volunteers to drawing up a business plan with a degree. The learning process, as a rule, is carried out in a mixed format. Teachers and university students come to correctional institutions to conduct face-to-face classes. Educational programs are adjusted depending on the profile of convicts in a particular country. The most effective programs are those that take into account the local situation and individual needs of convicts. In many foreign countries, conditions are created for the implementation of educational programs of higher education for people in isolation with the use of distance education technologies. The issue of providing educational services to convicts is resolved based on the capabilities of the educational organization and the correctional institution itself. However, due to the low availability of this level of education, the percentage of convicts receiving academic degrees in a correctional institution remains low in foreign countries.
Keywords: academic degrees; higher education; distance educational technologies; correctional institution; modular educational programs; convicts; resocialization.
Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor, Master of Law, Leading Researcher at the Department for the Study of Domestic and Foreign Experience, History of the Penal System, Comparative Analysis of Penitentiary Legislation of the Research Institute of the Federal Penal Service of Russia, Moscow, Russia
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