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Music education in prisons: A historical overview

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The purpose of this article is to examine the history and state of current research in the field of music education in prisons. Music education in prisons has existed since the mid-nineteenth century, but research in the field has been sparse. However, in the past twenty years, there has been a surge of activity in this field, marking a noticeable shift in the attitude of educators towards this type of research. The awareness of music educators to issues of social justice in recent years has caused a dramatic increase in the research on music in prisons. Hopefully knowledge of the history of music education in prisons will help to create a stronger foundation for further research.

Keywords: education; history; inmate; music; prison; research

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Catholic University of America.

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Community Music publishes research articles, practical discussions, timely reviews, readers' notes and special issues concerning all aspects of Community Music. The editorial board is composed of leading international scholars and practitioners spanning diverse disciplines that reflect the scope of Community Music practice and theory.
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