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Illiteracy and innumeracy in prisoners;News;News and opinion

Further evidence of the failure of schools to meet the needs of a problem social group was given this week by Jim Wallace, the justice minister. Prisoners, he said, have been "ill served by our schools - illiteracy and innumeracy being added to the burden of a conviction". After giving the Scottish Howard League for Penal Reform lecture in Edinburgh, he told the TES Scotland that "somewhere down the line something has gone wrong, when you are having to start from square one in literacy and numeracy - things you would have thought would have been taught in our schools".

The valuable role of early intervention in reducing criminality brought "a tremendous challenge to the resourcing and quality of these programme," Mr Wallace said in his lecture. Successful education programmes for prisoners, to which "we give a high priority" demonstrably reduced the risk of reoffending.

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