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New education strategy for prisoners

7 August 2013

New education strategy for prisoners

Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says there will be fewer victims of crime, and further reductions in reoffending rates, as a result of a new education strategy for prisoners.

“We know that the majority of prisoners can’t read or write properly, and that this is a serious driver of crime,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Lack of education means they can’t function in society, can’t access employment or training, and often return to crime.”

For the first time, every offender will have an education assessment when they enter prison, which will be used to develop an individual learning and training plan.

All prisoners will have access to targeted and results-focused learning programmes, to support them in gaining qualifications and employment experience. This support will also be offered post-release.

Over 1000 prisoners have already received education assessments at ten prisons, and this will be rolled out to all facilities by the end of the year.

An independent education expert advisory group, to be announced soon, will provide advice to Corrections and will also help develop a national curriculum for prisoners to help them achieve NCEA Level 2 and higher level trade qualifications.

“This is the most comprehensive education plan we have ever had for prisoners, and it will help them turn their lives around so they don’t create more victims of crime,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Offenders who are in employment and have stability in their lives are less likely to reoffend.

“Corrections has already reduced reoffending by 10.6 per cent, and this new strategy will give prisoners the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to society, and help us reach our Better Public Service target of a 25 per cent reduction in reoffending by 2017.”

Targets of the education strategy are:

· 85 per cent, or around 1,200 youth prisoners per year engaged in programmes to contribute to NCEA Level 2 qualifications by July 2017

· At least 3000 prisoners a year will receive literacy and numeracy programmes by July 2014

· At least 2000 prisoners a year will be supported to complete self-directed secondary and tertiary studies by July 2015

· 55 per cent, or around 3,200 25-34 year olds per year, will receive support towards NZQF qualifications at level 4 or above by July 2017


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