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Prison Education and Training in Europe

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Presentation on theme: "Prison Education and Training in Europe"— Presentation transcript:

1 Prison Education and Training in Europe
Current state-of-play and challenges Presented by Jo Hawley

2 Content Background The European Commission and Prison Education
Prison Education in Europe Why give prisoners access to education? Education in prison – what do prisoners need? Some key characteristics Conclusions

3 Background European Conference on Prison Education and Training
Suite of pre-conference documentation Conference report Review of literature, analysis and evaluation Survey of prison education coordinators + Case Studies Final summary report

4 The European Commission and Prison Education
Support for innovative, experimental activities and learning from the experience of others European policies recognise role of LLL in addressing social challenges Over 100 projects funded by Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Lifelong Learning Programmes Over 120 ‘projects funded through the EQUAL programme National networks and European Community of Practice (ExOCoP) Other European Commission initiatives, e.g. Research, Sport, AGIS

5 Prison education in Europe (1)
Institutions are overcrowded Average occupancy rate of 105% across the EU-27 Prison populations are increasingly diverse In some countries (incl. BE) over 40% of prisoners are foreign-born Many prisoners have low levels of education Often high levels of ESL amongst prisoners Many have low levels of basic skills Prisoners face institutional barriers to learning and the institutions face constraints on their capacity to provide education

6 Prison education in Europe (2)
In most European countries provision of education and training in prison is a legal requirement Yet participation in education amongst prisoners is rather low Common barriers to participation are lack of motivation and previous negative experiences of education Prisoners tend to have limited access to ICT and the Internet, but most can access distance learning Most countries ensure that prisoners can pursue a tailored learning ‘journey’ Most countries require prison teachers and trainers to have a relevant teaching / training qualification

7 Why give prisoners access to education?
Rights – as set out in international and European conventions and recommendations May contribute to factors which can help to reduce the costs associated with crime Plays a role in promoting rehabilitation Prisoners tend to have low levels of education – education in prison offers them a second chance Gaining skills can help to improve employability

8 Education in prison – what do prisoners need?
Key messages (1) A broad curriculum with wider scope for critical reflection and personal development Support for employability through vocational education, meaningful prison work, and tackling barriers to employment Arts and cultural activities have a wide range of benefits Different approaches to education and training e.g. modular or unit based, e-learning and distance learning, validation of prior learning and experience

9 Education in prison – what do prisoners need?
Key messages (2) An alternative approach, linked to mainstream provision To counter previous negative experiences of education Qualifications earned need to berecognised ‘on the outside’ Part of a holistic approach to rehabilitation Support throughout the prison sentence and beyond An individualised approach to learning to create a tailored learning journey Individual action plans Advice and guidance, including mentoring Take account of the needs of specific sub-groups

10 Education in prison – what do prisoners need?
Key messages (3) The prison needs to offer an environment conducive to learning Prison staff (officers and governors) should support and encourage participation in education They can help to motivate prisoners to take part Prison educators need support and training Relevant to the specific challenges they face

11 Some key characteristics
There is no single model which works, but some key characteristics are: Political commitment and engagement, backed up by funding Collaboration between actors involved, and cooperation with wider community Need for a stronger evidence base to inform future policy and practice

12 Conclusions Education has an important role to play in prisons
Commitment, funding, collaboration Alternative provision, but part of the mainstream offer Tailored learning A holistic approach A broad curriculum Information and guidance Positive environment Prison educators Diversity of prison population Evidence base

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