What we do

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For 30 years, PET has helped people in prison transform their lives through learning.

Working across England and Wales, we:

1. Fund courses in levels and subjects that are otherwise unavailable

2. Support people to choose courses, build connections and progress with their learning

3. Champion the life-changing power of education to prisons and policy makers


What we do makes a difference.

Research by the Ministry of Justice’s Data Lab has shown that our courses:

Reduce reoffending by 25%

Out of 100 people leaving prison, 82 PET learners lead crime-free lives in the year after leaving prison, compared to 75 in a matched group.

Increases chance of finding work by 26%

Out of 100 people leaving prison, 39 PET learners find work in the first year of release, compared to 31 in a matched group.

Through the personal accounts of people we fund, we also know that education has broader benefits. Our learners say education also has a positive impact on:


(ability to cope in prison, improvements to mental health),

Human Capital

(feeling of self-worth, hope and motivation),

Social Capital

(relationships with others, including prisoners and families),


(involvement in creating a positive prison environment)


There is a pressing need for our work. In recent years, conditions in prisons have deteriorated. The population has risen while staff numbers have decreased. Violence, self- harm and drug use are widespread, and more and more prisoners are spending 23 hours a day locked in their cell.

People in prison are often among the most disadvantaged in our society. Many have had damaging childhoods, have experienced mental health and addiction problems, and have suffered multiple bereavements. Most step through the prison gates with a poor and limited history of education.

Infographic of statistics. The text is as follows: 24% of prisoners have been in the care system, compared to 2% of the general population. 42% of adult prisoners have been permanently excluded from school. 47% of people in prison have no qualifications. 71%, over two-thirds of women, and 47%, nearly half of men, reported that they had a mental health issues.

*Statistics from Prison Reform Trust, Prison Factfile Winter 2021

Read more about the benefits of prison education in our Theory of Change.

Theory of Change image

25 Jun 2016 | Prisoner Learning Alliance | PLAN, Prisoner Learning Alliance | Report | PDF | 1.4MB

Theory of Change for Prison Education

We know that prison education can make a difference. But how does that ‘change’ process happen and what role can education play? The Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) aims to stimulate debate around these issues. Using research with teachers and former prisoners, the report examines how we can measure the benefit of education in prison, and how we can improve its provision. 

What we do

Read about the 250 different courses we offer

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What we do

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