1st International cycle of conferences in Portugal.

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The 1st International Cycle of Conferences: Prison Education – Paths and Challenges (virtual conference) was jointly organised by the Portuguese Prison Education Association (APEnP) and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), where APEnP has its headquarters.

This event was composed of 4 Sessions that took place on 09, 13, 23 and 30 April (2022), with a total duration of 09 hours.

It featured around 30 renowned speakers from various countries (Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia, Slovenia) and was attended by over 100 participants. Copies of the speakers’ presentations are available on our website (www.apenp.pt).

Session 1 was held on 09.04.2022 and was divided into 2 parts. The 1st part was dedicated to an overview of Prison Education in Portugal and in other European countries.

In the 2nd part, the Erasmus+ KA2 project: ‘The chrysalis and the Butterfly – autobiographical paths of penitentiary pedagogy’ [2020-1-IT02-KA204-079355] was presented.

Some of the speakers, who participated in Session 1 (see photo), were also at UTAD for the transnational meeting of the Erasmus+ KA2 project (‘The Chrysalis and the Butterfly…’).

Session 2 (13.04.2022) discussed the potential, and challenges faced by Education in the prison environment, the institutions involved, the specific characteristics of its students, and the role played by educators.

In Session 3 (23.04.2022), projects, research works and intervention programmes in prison were presented and discussed, and their relevance to the educational process was highlighted.

Session 4 (30.04.2022) contributed to a constructive debate between speakers and participants on the concept of ‘social stereotyping’, of total confinement and generalised abandonment to which the institutionalised person is subjected. Community reintegration policies and programmes were also presented which led to a wider questioning and debate on the current criminal justice system.

The participants’ evaluation of this cycle of conferences was very positive and APEnP is already planning to organise/take part in other events on Education in Prison.

José Pinto, President APEnP