“How is education linked to prison? Research (and perhaps common sense) tells us that a large percentage of inmates in UK prisons have below average levels of educational qualifications. They may also lack the communication skills, social networks and confidence that increase the chances of gaining and maintaining regular employment. They are therefore more likely to earn money through the alternative economies of illegal activity, which in turn increases the likelihood that they will spend time in prison. Prison reformers and prisoner advocates therefore call for better education opportunities in prisons, as an essential ingredient to reversing the very high rate of post-prison sentence recidivism (currently 45% of adults and 68.5% of juveniles released from prison are known to reoffend).
But… what if this high rate of recidivism is part of the complex failure of prison as a deterrent, and what if this failure is in some part born in the prisoners’ own schooling?”