Rehabilitating prisoners

28 May 2009

New contracts for prison education are now being negotiated with private and public business organisations to provide learning and skills for offenders in prisons and on community sentences from August 2009.

Developing the learning and skills of offenders makes our society safer. There is persuasive statistical evidence of reduced recidivism and increased employment rates for offenders who have followed specific work-related programmes.

Properly designed qualifications motivate offenders to progress in their rehabilitation. OCR also supports those who deliver the learning programmes leading to the qualifications.

Improving the quality and consistency of the learning and employment opportunities available to offenders across England and Wales is the mission of the RSA Prison Learning Network – supported by OCR.

John Brenchley, OCR’s Regional Stakeholder Manager and one of the RSA Prison Learning Network’s first participants, said: "If education within the prison service is to achieve the goals it aims for then it must provide consistent opportunities including relevant qualifications which are recognised and valued in the wider world. Courses such as basic skills enable students to improve their literacy and numeracy – key areas in which many prisoners have poor levels of achievement - while learning about ICT and other vocational skills enables prisoners to gain access to the same qualifications as those awarded in schools, colleges and workplaces."

OCR is part of the Cambridge Assessment Group. It offers qualifications to learners of all ages through 13,000 schools, colleges and other institutions, including extensive provision for offenders both in prisons and in community settings. Its broad portfolio includes GCSEs, As/A Levels, OCR Nationals, Key Skills, Entry Level qualifications, NVQs and a range of vocationally related qualifications.