Saturday, 18 November 2017

New concept to improve prisoners' education

ČTK |
11 January 2016

Prague, Jan 9 (CTK) - A new ten-year concept of the Czech prison service, presented by the Justice Ministry, is to improve the system of the prisoners' education and training to increase their chance to find jobs after release from prison.
The material is to be submitted to the government soon.
At present, almost a half of prisoners have only primary education and more than one-third have completed an apprentice school.
Their training in prison will primarily focus on technical fields and crafts that are demanded in the labour market. Prisoners could also attend computer and language courses.
"If we educate prisoners successfully, there is a realistic chance that they will be able to prove the test of the life behind the prison gates and will not return there," the concept authors say.
According to the Prison Service statistics, some 44 percent of prisoners have only elementary education, 2 percent did not even complete primary school, 38 percent finished apprentice training school and only 7 percent are secondary school graduates.
As of the end of 2014, there were 72 inmates with MA degree, 101 engineers (MA of science holders), 56 with Bc degree and 27 university graduates with doctor' degree in Czech prisons.
Educational activities should focus mainly on the prisoners with or without completed primary education and with apprenticeship certificate, the authors of the concept say.
They would like to connect the prisoners training with their employment either directly in prison are with external employers. The convicts would thereby gain the necessary practice in various fields and could also pay part of their debts.
Their inability to find a job after being released is a frequent reason for repeated criminal activities and return behind bars.
Computer and language courses seem also suitable since they will increase the competitiveness of the released prisoners in the labour market and are universally applicable in practice, the concept says.
Prisoners should be trained in financial literacy as well. The ministry proposes a simple brochure with basic information on debt settlement etc. for prisoners.
The Prison Service should find the way of enabling access to higher education to a broad circle of prisoners.
The new concept proposes the forms of e-learning and video-conference lectures, for instance. Talented prisoners can be motivated by scholarships for excellent study results.
Primary education of prisoners is now secured by schools on the basis of a contract. They form individual study plans for inmates and external teachers teach them directly in prisons.
However, the Prison Service complains that schools are often not willing to cooperate.
Secondary education is provided by external and private facilities and by the Prison Service' secondary training centre offering two-year and three-year study lines, mainly in mechanical engineering and assembling, but also in catering and tailoring. Prisoners can participate in correspondence courses, too.
Under a decree, the certificates on completed education cannot indicate that it was achieved in prison.

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