PLA Conference 2016

The Prisoner Learning Alliance Annual Conference 2016 took place at Cardiff Metropolitan University on 16 September, taking as its theme: 'The Future of Prison Education. Personalised and Peer-Enabled Approaches’.

Bringing together 150 sector experts, the conference was positioned at an important point for prison reform, coming after the publication of Dame Sally Coates' recommendations for prison education, at a point when Justice Secretary Liz Truss is still bedding into her role.  

In the morning, delegates heard from Wandsworth prison Governor Ian Bickers on bold reform plans in his prison; from Bodil Isaksen on Unlocked Graduates' plans to attract high-flying officers and from Katharine Brash on a thematic, inclusive approach to education in Scottish Young Offender Institutes. Read more here. Rhys, a former prisoner and now a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University, also shared his remarkable learning journey.
 
Later in the day, Kenny Brown, Cluster Governor for Welsh prisons, sat on a panel with a teacher, researcher and two former learners, where they discussed the intrinsic value of education, and debated how to encourage more prisoners to engage. Read more here. 

Presented by Cardiff Central MP and Shadow Prisons Minister Jo Stevens, the PLA awards recognised teachers, officers, peer mentor and others who made an outstanding contribution to education in their prisons, all of whom were nominated by prisoners themselves. As the winners came on stage, the testimonies of prisoners in their care were projected on a screen behind them. Read more and watch a slideshow of the winners here.