Author(s):Márta Takács-Miklósi (presenting)

Conference:ECER 2017

Network:02. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)


Session Information

02 SES 04.5 PS, General Poster Session

General Poster Session


Room:W4.corridor (Poster Area)


Specific Questions, Difficulties Of Juvenile Detainees’ Education And Training

In my poster presentation I examine what kind of specific features appear in connection with the education and training of juvenile detainees, what kind of characteristic features this well-defined group has in the system of law enforcement, what kind of privileges the system provides for this group of convicts in the European Union. According to both the Beijing and the Havana Rules the importance of juvenile detainees’ education and training must be stressed, the European Prison Rules contain special rules concerning the training of this group.

My research questions are:

What kind of characteristic features does the education of juvenile detainees have?

What characterizes the juvenile detainees’ educational, reintegration process on the European Union level?

What kind of privileges are provided for the juvenile detainees during their education, training inside the law enforcement institutions by the member states?

In my poster I set out from the fact that it is quite important to deal with this topic from the point of view of educational sociology because the promotion of the replacement or the reintegration of those young people into the society who have slipped into the periphery of the society means a serious task for the law enforcement institutions. The participation in school education has a relatively bigger role in the case of juvenile detainees than in the case of their adult mates. The personality of the young people is still developing, that is why education can be more successful in their case than in the case of adults.

The juvenile detainees’ qualifications, grounding are lower than the average of the society, which indicates that there was some disorder in the normal socializing processes in the case of the majority of the detainees. Intellectual deficit and partial ability deficit are more frequent among them, thus reading, logical, motor deficiencies, disorders are overrepresented. They get to the institution with weakly developed personality and low education level on average.

At the same time the special situation of juvenile datinees makes the prison teachers’ work a lot more difficult, so during their criminal andragogical activity they have to pay special attention to the handling of the detainees’ schooling deficit and the separation of their special position. That is why special regulations are formulated by the member states and the European Union for the handling of this peculiar situation putting the juvenile detainees into a privileged position. Apart from the fact that knowledge transfer is more difficult in the case of juvenile detainees, their motivation is complex as well.

It is a problem that learning will have its real result only after release, quite often in the distant future, which will decrease the detainees’ interest in learning. Besides this, the disturbing effect of the forced community existing inside the prison walls makes their learning more difficult.

Despite all these difficulties, learning in prison has a lot of advantages. In the case of convicts who take part in education there are fewer discipline problems in prison, the rate of those who become subsequent offenders after release and commit another crime is much lower. As the knowledge, abilities and skills acquired and the documents certifying them can improve the released person’s labour market chances, moreover they can be important tools of repeat offence prevention, they can contribute to the prevention of the development of a criminal career.

Thus it is a key issue if it is successful to convince the young person of the importance of learning, getting knowledge and obtaining a qualification. Will it be successful to win him/her over as a cooperating party in the process of education or he/she remains a passive onlooker? 


Despite the fact that the education of juvenile prisoners is a very important question, this momentum of prison education has not yet been properly described. While researching the professional literature related to this subject matter I started processing the European documents, result of forums, European Commission, Council of Europe and UN resolutions. I went through several primary sources and original documents, and paid special emphasis to European Prison Rules. After researching the international and European documents I went on to compare the results of domestic and international statistics. Besides this I paid a great deal of attention to studying the sources of Hungarian prison education, thus not only did I read the most important books, studies, and articles in periodicals, but also participated in several conferences held on criminal andragogy, and of course have made use of the experience gained there.
The material to be presented at the conference lecture can be used by the penitentiary systems of other European countries, as the difficulties of prison education and juvenile prisoners are similar in most European states.
According to my opinion, the most important problem is caused by the fact that in the present system even the motivated detainees can learn at the expense of difficulties. The teachers try to teach them with the same methods, which often runs into difficulties because of their functional illiteracy, learning, behaviour problems, immature and quite often injured personality structure. Besides this, learning becomes rather restricted in the cell in the forced presence of the mates. There are not schoolrooms in every institution and they are not available for all convicts, this would be justified to change. Juvenile detainees’ access to education, tools connected to the study material and the library is difficult, often even the textbooks are not available.
They quite often had neither the possibility nor the motivation to take school education and learning seriously in outer life usually because of the family circumstances and the lack of examples, that is why it is highly important to deal with the question of their education inside the prison walls.
In order to explore these circumstances in more detail I plan to carry out empirical research in which I visit several correctional facilities in Hungary and ask the inmates, educators, and teachers about their experience, views, and opinions about education.

Expected Outcomes

I define accurately in my poster who belong to juveniles from the point of view of law enforcement in the European Union and in its member states. I examine what the European Union rules contain about it, how it appears on the level of the states.
After that I present in details how the law enforcement of juvenile detainees differs from the one of their adult mates. Although different models developed in each state for the law enforcement of juvenile delinquents, a common principle can be found in each case though: among the aims priority is given to the resocialization of juveniles.
The juveniles are regarded as a special detainee category and because of the characteristics of this age group law enforcement rules are justified to be different from the ones of adults. In my poster I show the rules providing the most important privileges concerning the education of juvenile detainees.
This kind of principle, which provides the most important privilege in the case of juveniles, is the principle of ultima ratio, namely the fact that imprisonment can be applied in their case only as a last resort.
The European Prison Rules secure for the sake of the defence of juveniles that during imprisonment the juveniles must be separated from the adults.
It is a common characteristic feature that a different education method is applied in the case of juveniles than in the case of adults, education and the assurance of sporting facilities are emphasized in their case.
It is a further allowance that for the facilitation of the reintegration of juveniles into the society the support of the court of guardians and other state organs, civil organizations and the relatives of the juvenile must be employed besides the educational institutions and the parole supervision ordered for adult detainees.


• Alessandro Maculan – Daniela Ronco – Francesca Vianello (2013): Prison in Europe: overview and trends. Detention conditions in the European Union. European Prison Observatory. In:
• Barry Goldsona – John Muncieb (2012): Towards a global ‘child friendly’ juvenile justice? International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice Volume 40, Issue 1, January 2012, pp. 47–64
• Braggins, J. – Talbot, J.(2005): Wings of Learning; the role of the prison officer in supporting prisoner education. Centre for Crime and Justice Studies. In:
• Brosens, Dorien – Donder, Liebeth – Dury, Sarah – Verté, Dominique (2015): Barriers to Participation in Vocational Orientation Programmes Among Prisoners. In: Journal of Prison Education and Reentry Vol. 2 No. 2, December, pp. 9-22
• Council of Europe (2006): European Prison Rules
• Council of Europe (2008): Commentary to the European Rules for juvenile offenders subject to sanctions or measures. In:
• Gemignani, Robert J. (1994): Juvenile Correctional Education: A Time for Change. OJJDP Update on Research. In: Juvenile Justice Bulletin, Oct.
• Hawley, Jo – Murphy, Ilona – Souto-Otero, Manuel (2013): Prison education and training in Europe. Current state-of-play and challenges. A summary report authored for the European Commission by GHK Consulting. In:
• Hurry, J. – Brazier, L. – Snapes, K. – Wilson, A. (2005): Improving the literacy and numeracy of disaffected young people in custody and in the community. In:
• Junger, Josine – Scott, Tas – Decker, H (2008): International Handbook of Juvenile Justice. Springer
• MacDonald, Morag (2005): A study of the health care provision, existing drug services and strategies operating in prisons in ten countries from Central and Eastern Europe. In:
• United Nations (1985): United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules). Adopted by General Assembly resolution 40/33 of 29 November 1985 In:
• United Nations (1990): United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty. (The Havana Rules) Adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990. In:

Author Information

Márta Takács-Miklósi (presenting)
University of Debrecen, Hungary