​Improvements to inmate education and training

Issued: Tuesday, 10 May 2016

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More inmates will participate in literacy, numeracy and training programs as part of reforms to reduce reoffending and improve the performance of the prison system.

Minister for Corrections David Elliott today announced the delivery of education and training courses will be outsourced to specialist training organisations after a review found the current system is not sufficiently focused on job skills.

"Currently there are limited teaching hours available in December, January, April and July but this is not suitable for a prison because we don’t give inmates school holidays," Mr Elliott said.

"Corrective Services is a small education provider so inmate programs often reflect the skills of teachers who are available at a centre, not necessarily the needs of inmates. For example, between a quarter and a third of vocational programs are in art and music rather than areas linked to inmate employment."

The reform will more than double the number of inmates completing literacy and numeracy courses and increase the number of vocational education and training activities by 20 per cent.

"We will refocus the types of courses being delivered to those that help offenders get jobs when they leave prison. This is good for inmates and good for the community," Mr Elliott said.

Corrective Services will maintain responsibility for assessing inmate education needs and run the specialised intensive learning centres at Lithgow, Wellington, South Coast and Mid North Coast Correctional centres.

The changes form part of the Better Prisons reform program, which aims to lift standards, strengthen accountability and help meet the Government’s commitment to reduce adult reoffending by 5 per cent by 2019.