Friday, 19 July 2013

Learning is the only pathway to reducing re-offending

Posted by AmaDixon on NIACE’s More, Different and Better blog

Before I got involved with Offender Learning, or should I say when I was an unsuspecting member of the general public, my views on learning in prisons and opportunities for offenders in the community were at the very least skewed and at the very most totally off the beam. I heard somewhere once that you could do a degree in prison, in fact I have friends who include it as part of their career planning, and I believed it. I was bemused at the concept of paying for ‘criminals’ to learn. Surely we are only making them better ‘criminals’.

I never knew though that a significant percentage of people in the criminal justice system have low educational attainment levels or that there is a prevalence of mental health, learning difficulties and disabilities, drug and alcohol misuse among offenders. Neither did I know that many offenders are themselves, in fact, victims of abuse. Like the rest of Joe Public I was interested only in the sensationalism of criminality and not the root causes of it.

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