During the first phase of the European Union´s “Erasmus+” Programme (2014-2020), over 150 projects relating to various aspects of Prison Education have been supported, notably within the Adult Education part of the programme. In the documents below, you will find a statistical overview of the projects, enabling the reader to trace the involvement of organisations in all the 34 European countries participating. A further document analyses in more depth the key aspects of the projects supported. For anyone interested in the field, whether from a research perspective or from the point of view of launching or participating in European activities, the documents provide a comprehensive overview of the EU´s main funding instrument for Prison Education over the past seven years.

But “Erasmus+” was not the beginning of the story. In the 15 years which preceded it, Prison Education attracted EU support under several other programmes. Many of the innovative methodologies and materials resulting from these, and the messages in the accompanying policy documents, remain highly relevant today. The “historical review” available below outlines the main features.

Principal among these earlier programmes was the “Grundtvig” funding instrument which formed part of the “Lifelong Learning Programme” (2007-2013) and its predecessor “Socrates II” (2000-2006). Its aim was to improve the quality and strengthen the European dimension of adult learning, by means of cooperation projects and partnerships, transnational mobility for educational staff and European networking, much as “Erasmus+” does today. Prison education was a significant priority, with over 120 projects supported during the programme.

The Prison Education aspect of “Grundtvig” culminated in a major conference on European cooperation in Prison Education, “Pathways to Inclusion”, as well as in a series of reports outlining trends and features of prison education in Europe and drawing out major findings from research and evaluation studies. These are reproduced here on the EPEA website together with the key documents from the conference, including a review of most European projects supported up to that time.

The “Grundtvig” programme was named after the Danish philosopher, theologian and teacher N.F.S.Grundtvig. The icon of Grundtvig pictured here was presented to the European Commission in 2010 by a former prisoner, as a token of his gratitude to the programme, participating in which had, he said, changed the course of his life.

Erasmus+ is the European Commission’s Programme for education, training, youth and sport for the period 2014–2020, succeeding the previous Lifelong Learning Programme (2007–2014).

Link to the Programme