Challenges to the educational “digital divide” in Spanish prisons

Manuel Lázaro Pulido*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Education within prisons is one of the most complex scenarios in the field of education in Spain. Education is conceived in spatial and temporal coordinates that are totally alien to life in prison and often clash with economic or security and order-related contraindications that frustrate the right to education in the twenty-first century. This is an education that cannot be unconnected with digital competition, and one of its aims is to eliminate the “digital divide”. On the one hand, it has been analysed by the Spanish and European authorities that there is a need for education to respond to the challenges of today’s society, which is characterised by having moved from the analogue era to the digital era. This digital drive is designed to limit social differences. On the other hand, Spanish prison legislation guarantees the right to education, but without forgetting the special circumstances limiting rights in prisons. In Spain, the 1996 regulation does not seem to be able to respond to the existing difficulties, since its wording has become obsolete on this point. In this regard, the Council of Europe recalled different aspects which lead us to question how the right to comprehensive education should be skilfully combined with that of the restrictions specific to the prison environment. The study of these two aspects leads to the conclusion that it is a difficult challenge. The administration must therefore seek a fair balance between the public policy objectives pursued and respect for the rights of persons deprived of their liberty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-281
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal on Criminal Policy and Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital divide
  • Education
  • Right to education
  • Spanish prison system


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