Event to promote learning prisons

24 Apr 2014

The PLA, which represents 18 expert organisations, is holding a conference on Friday 25th April 2014 at the Open University campus, Milton Keynes. The aim of the conference is to help prisons put learning at the heart of rehabilitation. The event will comprise a series of keynote speeches, panel sessions and workshops, bringing together 200 prison educators, managers and members of the voluntary sector working in criminal justice. They will learn about the findings of the PLA’s new report, Smart Rehabilitation, and explore ways to implement its recommendations. The conference will also premiere three films, promoting prisons that are embracing learning, and the achievements of two ex-prisoners who were supported by Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) and now work for a charity helping young people. Speakers include Ofsted Inspector Stephen Miller, criminologist Professor Fergus McNeill and former prison Governor Emily Thomas who is currently heading the Ministry of Justice's implementation team on "Transforming Rehabilitation". These speakers will each lead panel debates with contributors including prison staff, former prisoners and senior Government officials. Alexandra Marks, Chair of the PLA, said:

Stock image of learner reading in cell

“This event is aimed at supporting prisons to embrace the potential for learning within prison. We know learning works. We know learning reduces reoffending.

“Our new films showcase really smart approaches to rehabilitation. At HMP Swaleside, learning is in every corner of the prison; in HMP Low Newton, women get the right support to prepare them for study or work in the future.

“We are pleased our conference agenda of expert discussions and practical workshops will help prison staff and volunteers to consider different approaches to learning within the prison environment.

“We thank those prisoners and ex-prisoners who voice the multiple benefits of using their time valuably to develop new skills which ultimately, have stopped them from reoffending.”

About the event

The event will focus on the PLA’s new report Smart Rehabilitation: Learning how to get better outcomes. The report outlines the benefits of enabling prisoners to access a broad range of learning, training and skills activities. The conference plenary sessions will focus on the report's three key themes, and its vision for prisoner learning: value-driven, outcome-focused and joined-up. Sixteen practical workshops in the morning and afternoon will offer useful information on issues such as developing excellence in teaching, the potential of ICT to transform learning in prison and how to support self-employment, job prospects and further education opportunities for prisoners.

Editor’s Notes

For more information about the event  and a full list of workshops visit the PLA conference page. Case studies and interviews with former prisoners whose lives have been transformed by education are available on request. For interviews, photos or further information please visit www.prisonerseducation.org.uk

About the PLA

The Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) brings together 20 organisations to improve learning in prison. The group was established by the charity Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) in November 2012. Members include:

The Open University (OU), The Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG), St. Giles Trust Institute for Learning International Centre for Prison Studies, University of Essex, Women in Prison, StartUp, Art Alliance, CLINKS, Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System (CECJS) at the Institute of Education, University of London, Prison Radio Association, User Voice, Prison Reading Groups, Association of Employment and Learning Providers, Association for Colleges, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), Safe Ground, Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR).