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Prison Education and Training in Europe

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  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 http://ec.europa.eu/education/grundtvig/confprison_en.htm • Review of literature, analysis and evaluation http://ec.europa.eu/education/adult/doc/literature_en.pdf • Survey of prison education coordinators + Case Studies http://ec.europa.eu/education/adult/doc/survey/survey_en.pdf • Final summary report http://ec.europa.eu/education/more-information/doc/prison_en.pdf

  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