Pedagogy for prisoners: An approach to peer health education for inmates

Michael W. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


There are public health benefits in prisoner health education, given that inmates are predominantly from an underclass that is overrepresented in all categories of disease and health disadvantage. The author reviews these health issues and proposes Freire's approach to education on prisoner-generated, problematic health topics within the context of their lives and cultures. Freirean stages proposed include identification and investigation of relevant health topics of concern to inmates, thematization, problematization of the issues, and development of critical health consciousness, followed by dramatization of problems and solutions within culturally appropriate contexts. Examples are presented. Health rights and responsibilities are discussed in the context of correctional settings and the structural and organizational limits they present for staff and inmates. This approach to prisoner health education should result in increased health literacy and emancipation, which prisoners can later diffuse within their communities of origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-18
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Correctional Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Freire
  • Health education
  • Health literacy
  • Inmates
  • Public health


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