PET'S Rod Clark's 'How Education Transforms' article

Published: May 2016

Rod Clark

This article present a case for promoting education as a central part of prison regimes. Prison makes successful reintegration to society very hard. Education is one of the few positive things that can be offered over a prison sentence to help. Many prisoners have untapped potential for learning. And purposeful activity is vital for wellbeing in custody.

One argument in support of prison education is that of equity. As for example with standards of healthcare, it is argued that prisoners should have access to the same level of educational opportunities available for adults in wider society. However, there is a strong case for going beyond simple parity. All too often prisoners have failed or been unable to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered earlier  in  life  and,  having  taken  the  decision  to incarcerate them, it is arguable that society has both an obligation and self interest in looking to mitigate the adverse effects of imprisonment and assist former prisoners to re-enter the community equipped and empowered to contribute fully and constructively to it.