Call for papers 61

(July-December 2023)


Topic: Crossroads for education in contexts of punitive confinement

Deadline for reception: January 16, 2023



Nadia Patricia Gutiérrez Gallardo
(ITESO, Mexico)

Pablo Hoyos González
(Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana de México-Iztapalapa, Mexico)

Guest Coordinator:

Camila Pérez

(Universidad Nacional de San Martín/CONICET, Argentina)


Education in contexts of punitive confinement (ECPC) is a field of action and research that in recent years has risen to prominence in Mexico and Latin America. Multiple educational experiences rooted in critical pedagogies and popular education propose building ties between teachers and students within a place of encounter where sharing the word allays the pain of living in confinement (Manchado, 2012).

Furthermore, with respect to the political dimension, ECPC can generate teaching and learning situations where students come to understand and resignify their position in society, and while still behind bars develop sociological imaginaries that enable them to situate their personal experiences within a broader historical and social context (Gutiérrez, 2020). Following this line of thinking, some authors propose constructing a specific pedagogy for working in contexts of confinement, with activities that prioritize subjectivizing inquiry and humanizing practices designed to address the specific circumstances of people subjected to punitive imprisonment. The objective is to develop a pedagogy where people in prison are recognized, listened to, and moved, where words, ways of knowing and meanings are put into discussion to be appropriated and resignified by participants (Suárez and Frejtman, 2012, Pérez, 2020b).

Researching diverse educational experiences situated in prison contexts invariably involves thinking about an emerging, paradoxical web of tensions that “shapes times, spaces, discourses, resources and specific practices that go beyond the mere intersection of prison and school (Suárez and Frejtman, 2012, p.94).

From the perspective of a classical reading of this field of research, authors such as Foucault (2008) and Baratta (2002) argue that these two institutions emerged for the same purpose: to create and maintain the dominant social order with its verticalized structures, its selectivities, its discriminations and marginalizations. Prison education has been justified by appealing to the fiction of the resocialization of criminals, thus consolidating its role as one of the key foundations of the approach to incarceration upheld by Criminal Law. Even though this mandate has been widely questioned in the social sciences (Bujan and Ferrando, 1998; Daroqui, 2000; Manzanos Bilbao, 1994; Salinas, 2002; Scarfó, 2006), it persists as a validating principle and runs through media and social discourses regarding educational experiences in contexts of confinement.

On the other hand, numerous studies have pointed to the power of ECPC to construct spaces of resistance to prison violences (Di Próspero, 2019; Hoyos González, 2018; Lombraña, Strauss and Tejerina, 2017; Rodríguez, 2012; Gutiérrez, 2020). They provide evidence of counter-hegemonic logics of action where educational activities become sharp weapons capable of tearing the “fabric” that constitutes the degrading prison dynamic (Parchuc, 2019).

Finally, it is important to emphasize that the inequalities that prisons tend to aggravate have become even more pronounced, both inside and outside, with the global public health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had a severe impact on the right to education within the prison walls (Pérez, 2020a).

Based on these ideas, we propose that this number of Sinéctica call for studies that can enable us to:

  • Understand how to link the reflective and formative processes proposed for educational spaces with the regulatory/disciplinary context that governs prison life.
  • Recognize the challenges that educators face in managing in-prison educational spaces.
  • Understand the regional differences in Latin America with respect to the rights to education, the diversity of public policies, and the social actors involved.
  • Analyze the potential of ECPC as manifested in the different experiences being carried out in the region over the last decade.


  • Educational policies in contexts of punitive confinement
  • Meanings of education in contexts of punitive confinement
  • The work of teachers in prison contexts
  • Students’ learning situated in contexts of punitive confinement
  • Artistic and cultural projects and interventions in contexts of punitive confinement
  • Challenges of ECPC in times of Covid-19
  • ECPC experiences in Latin America



Baratta, Alessandro. (2002). Criminología crítica y crítica del derecho penal. Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI.

Bujan, Javier and Ferrando, Víctor. (1998). La cárcel argentina: una perspectiva crítica, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires: Ed. AD-HOC.

Daroqui, Alcira. (2000). La cárcel en la universidad.  In Nari, Marcela and Fabré Andrea (Comps.) Voces de mujeres encarceladas (pp-101-156). Buenos Aires: Catálogos.

Di Prospero, Carolina. 2019. Pinchar la burbuja. Saberes emergentes y estrategias de aprendizaje de estudiantes detenidas/os en una cárcel bonaerense. Revista Alquimia Educativa. V.1 (6): 109-124

Foucault, Michel. (2008). Vigilar y Castigar. (35ta ed.). Mexico City: Siglo XXI.

Gutiérrez, Nadia. (2020). “Hacer sitio”: Entre el estar presa y el estar siendo estudiante. Un estudio de los anclajes de la identidad universitaria en reclusión. (Master’s degree thesis, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Argentina campus).

Hoyos, Pablo. (2018). Hablen con nos-otras. Experimentaciones con el taller cultural como espacio de problematización conjunta en un penal femenil, in Hoyos, P.,  Aguiluz, M. and Ortega, C.  (Coords.). La penalidad femenina. Mexico City: School of Arts of the UAEMex and CEIICH-UNAM Available at:

Lombraña, Andrea, Strauss, Luciana and Tejerina, Diego (2017). “Hacia la construcción de un proyecto pedagógico del Centro Universitario de San Martín (CUSAM)”. Paper presented at the 10th International Seminar of Memory Policies. Haroldo Conti Cultural Center of Memory, Buenos Aires. September 30, 2017

Manchado, Mauricio (2012). Educación en contextos de encierro: Problemáticas, miradas e interrogantes en torno al sujeto del aprendizaje y el proceso educativo en las prisiones santafesinas. Revista latinoamericana de educación inclusiva, 6(1), 125-142.

Manzanos Bilbao, César (1994). “Reproducción de lo carcelario: el caso de las ideologías resocializadoras”. In Rivera Beiras Iñaki (Coord.) Tratamiento penitenciario y derechos fundamentales: Jornadas Penitenciarias (pp.121-140). Barcelona: Librería Bosch. 

Parchuc, Juan Pablo (2019). Escribir en la cárcel. Prácticas y experiencias de lectura y escritura en contextos de encierro. Buenos Aires: FILO:UBA.

Rodríguez, Esteban (2012). La educación en los pantanos punitivos: islotes de organización. In Gutiérrez Mariano (Comp.) Lápices o rejas. Pensar la actualidad del derecho a la educación en contextos de encierro (pp. 259-277). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Editores del Puerto. 

Salinas, Raúl (2002). El trabajo y el estudio como elementos de reintegración social. In Conferencia Latinoamericana sobre Reforma penal y Alternativas a la prisión, International Penal Reform, San José de Costa Rica.

Pérez, Camila (2020a). ¿Por qué pensar en la educación en cárceles en contexto de pandemia? In: Pandemia y Justicia Penal. Apuntes actuales para discusiones emergentes (pp.151-173). Revista Pensamiento Penal. Asociación Civil Pensamiento Penal, Buenos Aires.

Pérez, Camila (2020b). “¿Qué se aprende en el taller de alfabetización? Experiencias formativas y aprendizajes situados en un espacio educativo intramuros”. Doctoral Thesis. Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Universidad Nacional de San Martín and Universidad Nacional de Lanús.

Scarfó, Francisco (2006). “Los fines de la educación básica en las cárceles en la provincia de Buenos Aires”. Undergraduate Thesis. Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

Suárez, Daniel and Frejtman, Valeria. (2012). (Coord.). Entre la cárcel y la escuela: campo de tensiones para la inclusión educativa. Final research report: Support for research projects of the Regional Cooperation Center for Adult Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CREFAL, in its initials in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Educación, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Zaffaroni. E. (2015). La filosofía del sistema penitenciario en el mundo contemporáneo. In Bardazano, Gianella., Corti, Aníbal., Duffau, Nicolás. and Trajtenberg, Nicolás. (Comps.)., Discutir la cárcel, pensar la sociedad. Contra el sentido común punitivo (pp.15-36). Uruguay: TRILCE.