IPRT - Irish Penal Reform Trust

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UK: Prisoners' Education Trust

19th February 2010

Prisoners' Education Trust was founded in 1989 with the ambitious vision that 'every prisoner has the opportunity to benefit from education'; they sought to provide a wide range of education and training programmes within prisons as well as a commitment to raise awareness of the importance of prison education with policy makers.

Distance learning was the solution to the problems they perceived regarding the education provisions available at the time which were viewed as narrow ranging and unlikely to inspire many offenders. From these beginnings the Trust expanded considerably and now offers an array of various educational and creative programmes for offenders such as the Youth Education Project which works specifically with those in young offender institutions and offers a one-to-one mentoring service for its learners.

The Trust also maintains links with the Open University and uses an innovative concept called 'virtual campus' to provide secure access to information.

Prisoners' Education Trust remains an impressive organisation, committed to providing valuable skills and learning to prisoners, with the aims of easing reintegration upon release and granting the offender the opportunity to forge a career for himself.