From education to employment

Forum on Prisoner Education Call for Faster Changes

A paper published on the 16th of September, 2005, by the Form on Prisoner Education (FPE), has shown that the Government is failing to make sufficient progress in regards to Prison Education Reforms.

According to Steve Taylor, Director of the FPE, not a single target has been fully achieved. “The Government is working to improve prisoner education but, as our research has shown, they”re not moving nearly fast enough,” he said. He also pointed out that the risk of re ““ offending was greatly reduced by the provision of education within the prison environment, saying: “That’s a scandal when one considers the impact education can have on a prisoner’s life.”

All Party Report Recommends Change

Published by the All Party Group for Further Education and Lifelong Learning in September 2004, the report “Inside Track” made thirty far – reaching recommendations to the prison service and the Department for Education & Skills (DfES). Among the All Party Group’s recommendations were that the standard of vocational training should equal that of the community; to provide prisoners with internet access where it is the requirement of a course; and to forbid the transferral of any prisoner to another prison if it results in the termination of a course.

Earlier this year, in March 2005, the House of Commons Education & Skills Committee published the report of its inquiry into prison education. The contents of this document branded the transfer of prisoner records “a disgrace” and criticised the lack of leadership and ownership of prison education in government.

With part conference season getting into its full swing, it is likely that the more cosmetic and instantly popular measures for crime prevention, such as increasing the police presence on the streets, will be more often heard than measures that seek to address the causes of re ““ offending. It now remains to be seen whether the Government will listen to the report from across political divides.

Tina Sharma

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