Friday, February 01, 2008

Prisoners' Education Trust - Offender Learning Matters

Yesterday I was privileged to attend the launch of the Prisoners' Education Trust latest project 'Offender Learning Matters'. In the River Room of the House of Lords, there was a very positive buzz in the air as all those present discussed the need to promote learning and education for offenders and prisoners - see - .

Education and learning is undoubtedly at the heart of any rehabilitation programme. Equally, it is essential that we view the process in the widest possible sense. It is not simply about basic skills in reading in writing. Rather it is about changing the personal perceptions, thinking and beliefs of offenders, increasing their confidence, motivation, sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Once this is achieved, the rest is relatively easy.

Critically, such provision requires intensive work and specialist skills. Without these foundations, little will change. With the Government's increasing recognition and commitment to community based alternatives to custody, we can only hope that associated agencies will pick up the PET's baton for change and help to drive the process forward by ensuring that their staffs are given the necessary training and skills to do so.