The present article introduces a reflection about inmates and Literacy. This reflection raises through an overview on the available studies about Literacy in the prison world. Research on this subject has been developed in two ways: either on the entire population and the prison population or exclusively on the prison population. Both types of studies are valuable, since they allow a higher and closer knowledge of the educational profiles of this area of society which is generally unknown and hard to inspect. At the same time, they offer a wide basis of analysis between inmates’ level of alphabetization as compared to the population in general and help make choices for future development. In Italy, research on inmates is very scanty. However, the international studies presented below lay the basis for a research that was led in an Italian prison in 2010, and which analysed the education, literacy and cultural habits of inmates.
Keywords: Inmates, literacy, cultural habits, prison education, recidivism