Research factors to be aware of and to consider when studying education in prisons

  • Recognition that most prisoners serve shorter sentences and so, engage in units and not courses.
  • Due to substance abuse and the nature of life in the community for many prisoners, many may have to revise what they have already completed in ABE when they return to prison
  • A significant number of prisoners are from disadvantaged backgrounds and have achieved only lower levels of education.
  • The record number of Indigenous peoples in prison (27% of national total; much higher in some jurisdictions) can significantly impact on educational programs and services – and research studies.
  • The life experience and situation which exists between the 80% of Indigenous peoples on the Eastern and Southern States to that in regional/remote areas and the NT and Western Australia is different- the place not race issue.
  • The Indigenous self- identifier situation can and is significantly impacting on the national /overall Indigenous situation- socially and educationally
  • The increasing number of female prisoners in the system nationally will impact on results if not accounted for in a study.
  • The way forward for many prisoners requires an integrated program of adult basic, vocational, life and developmental skills education
  • The time period selected for study should consider the nature of the national VET system and its tendency to introduce changes.
  • Recognition that changes in government generally impact on the policies related to the provision of educational services in prison… slows things down.
  • Consideration of labour market conditions and their impact on post release opportunities for ex-prisoners
  • Impact of actual cuts in budget to education and training while prisoner population has increasedThe negative impact of overcrowding on the prison system..slows things down
  • Lack of required educational infrastructure for increased prisoner population
  • Impact of a no parole or no early release for prisoners policy by government
  • Disruptions by uniformed staff that negatively impact on the provision of educational services.