Involve, Improve, Inspire: A Prisoner Learner Voice Toolkit
In 2013, PET developed a Learner Voice toolkit, 'Involve, Improve, Inspire', to provide prison staff with a range of resources to develop the concept of Learner Voice in their establishments.
The toolkit gives many examples of how prisons can involve people in learning, such as allowing prisoners to vote for a representative to sit on student forums or councils, raise issues with senior staff members and help promote education among peers. Becoming responsible for and taking part in such activities develops skills in public speaking, decision-making and project management; all of which can help people resettle back into their lives after release.
This approach is beneficial for prisons as well as individuals, by involving prisoners and ex-prisoners, prisons and community providers are better equipped to remove barriers to learning and improve the quality of education and training opportunities.
Our research project Rehabilitative Cultures developed this toolkit into a series of workshops to support prison staff in establishing and improving learner voice activities. We then studied the effect this had in the Learning Culture of the prison. Our findings demonstrated that an increased commitment to Learner Voice, even on a small scale, can measurably improve the culture of the prison. Read more about the project here.