Distance learning helps prisoners into work

Offenders who took distance learning courses were more likely to find work after release from prison, research found

Offender learning reduces unemployment after release

Offenders taking part in distance learning while in prison are more likely to find work after release, according to a new report.

According to research published by the Ministry of Justice and carried out by the ministry’s Justice Data Lab (JDL), those who accessed distance learning through Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) were more likely to be in employment in the first year out of prison than a matched comparison group; 39 per cent of PET learners found work, compared to 31 per cent of the control group. They also spent fewer days receiving out-of-work benefits: 125 days compared to 134 days for those who received no such funded training.

'Making a difference'

The JDL report analysed the employment and benefits outcomes of nearly 6,000 people who studied courses or received art materials funded by PET. 

Rod Clark, chief executive of PET, said: “Whether someone wants to become a plumber, manage a shop, or work in construction, they need qualifications that are often not provided by prisons. PET provides meaningful courses that complement both people’s individual interests and today’s job market – making a real difference to someone’s chance of finding work and therefore building a productive life away from crime.” 

'Impressive results'

Prisons minister Rory Stewart said: “As our education and employment strategy sets out, we want prisons to be places of aspiration which propel offenders into employment.

“I want to congratulate the Prisoners’ Education Trust on these impressive results, which show the pivotal role education can play in helping offenders turn their lives around.”


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