Research conducted by the UNESCO Chair entitled Exploratory Study on Teaching in the Detention Centres in the Provincial Jurisdiction of Québec

The UNESCO Chair in Applied Research on Education in Prison conducted an exploratory study in partnership with the ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP), the ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), and the ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale (MESS). Genevieve Perreault, lead researcher, and Jean-François Meilleur, researcher, wrote and did the layout of the report. Others also contributed to the completion of this work: Paul Bélanger (Ph.D.), president of the scientific committee; Jean-Pierre Miron, UNESCO chairholder; Jean-Pierre Simoneau, director of operations; and François Lett, teacher and collaborator.

On November 2, 2014, at the ministère de la Sécurité publique, the UNESCO Chair summarized the exploratory study to representatives of the ministère de la Sécurité publique, the ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, and the ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, some of whom were present via video conference in Québec. They all recognized the merit of this research study, which was requested by the three ministries. This partnership between the three ministries, which is a first, made the completion of this research by the UNESCO Chair possible.

Briefly, the overall objectives of this research were to provide a general outline, from existing data, of the situation in certain detention centres in the provincial jurisdiction of Québec, by doing a review of the literature and conducting semi-structured group interviews.

Globally, here are the four main objectives:

  • Give a general outline of education in certain detention centres in the provincial jurisdiction of Québec. From available data provided by those responsible within the MSP, including data by the ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), we were able to give a general outline of the situation in certain detention centres. This pre-inquiry led to a preliminary outline that enabled us to put together a more detailed research project afterwards.
  • Do a review of the literature on the situation of education in prison around the world in order to reveal the main tendencies and draw up a comparative portrait.
  • Do an exploratory study on the impact of training programs on the climate of prisons and on the security of detention centres.
  • Do an exploratory study on the impact of education on detainees, on their social and professional reintegration. Interviews were conducted with 5 groups of resource persons, specifically executive groups, correctional officers, prison counsellors, workshop coordinators, and teachers. These interviews took place in 6 detention centres in the provincial jurisdiction, namely Tanguay, Montréal, Saint-Jérôme, Rimouski, New-Carlisle, and Québec.

The UNESCO Chair’s steering committee and the members of its research committee wish to thank all their partners at the three ministries for their professionalism and their availability on every level, throughout the various steps and activities that made it possible for this research project to be completed, particularly during the interviews conducted in the detention centres in the provincial jurisdiction.