Access to Employment and Training
Matt's experience of education in prison was mixed. Listen to what he has to say:
Access to and take up of educational opportunities in prison is mixed. In 2012, the average participation rate in education for all prisons was 50 per cent of the prison population. In the summer of 2012, 85 prisoners sat Leaving Cert exams, which represented an almost 30% decrease since 2010. 127 sat Junior Certificate exams and it was estimated that about 600 others were taking FETAC courses.
There are currently 13 vacant teaching positions in Irish prisons, six in the Midlands prison. When there isn't enough teachers, it is hard for people to take up education.
|Among the Irish prison population, there are high rates of illiteracy, low educational attainment, and a history of unemployment. A focus on providing meaningful training and educational opportunities is very important to allow prisoners to begin a stable crime free life when they are released. It is also important to provide education in other skills, including skills for independent living, such as cooking and budgeting.|
Access to Housing
A high number of prisoners have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. For some, they were first homeless as a child. The reality is that for most people who enter prison homeless, leave prison homeless.
Prisoners who are homeless on their release from prison may experience the same circumstances that led to their imprisonment. Therefore, access to safe and appropriate housing to people leaving prison is central in overcoming repeat offending.