Topic 1 Current Education and Professional Motives among Former Prisoners

Education and training is a key-factor for the reintegration of former prisoners into the society. The majority of former prisoners receives some fundamental, but insufficient courses regarding lingual and numerical skills.

A high percentage of former prisoners lacks basic educational attainment and basic competences, such as reading and writing. ICT/digital skills also constitute a significant gap in their deficient educational background. As a result, most of them face serious problems and limitations in both social and professional life.

It is not taken into account that 20-30% of them have some form of a learning disability.

The limitations for the former prisoners begin during their confinement regime. The most serious limitation for the ex-offenders is that they lack:

a. basic equipment and training staff

b. broadband access being basically crippled.

The quantitative research activity conducted in the context of RECHANCE project has reported that former prisoners prioritize basic digital skills as a vital part of their lifelong learning and the rehabilitation acceleration.

The education of (former) prisoners can be divided in the following categories:

General education (e.g. courses in subjects such as mathematics, sciences, history, foreign languages, literacy etc.),

Vocational education and training, that aims to equip people with knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences required in particular occupations or more broadly on the labour market,

Non-formal learning, which entails some art and craft activities or offence-focused programs with the aim to help prisoners to address issues such as anger management etc. This type of learning does not lead directly to a professional certification.

Labour market today requires higher skills in comparison to the previous decades.

The acceleration of digital transformation features an additional need for the training of former prisoners: the renovation of education through the usage of digital technologies.

More specifically, there is an emerging need to address and develop:

  • the acquisition of higher education that corresponds the current demands of the labour market
  • alternative educational approaches reflecting the real trend of the labour market that focus on digital and technical skills.

Although, literacy and/or vocational training programs for former prisoners often present to be ineffective or partially effective.

Basic digital literacy programs exist in some European second chance schools (even in correctional facilities), but the number of participants that can attend them is very limited due to the lack of the proper equipment (both hardware and software).

­čí¬ The digitalization of the education and training system is a priority and can harness benefits and opportunities.