Our Vision, Mission and Values
Prisoners' Lives Transformed Through Learning
Every Prisoner a Learner, Every Prison a Place to Learn
Fundamental to our beliefs and our practice is that learning is a vital way for people to build hope and aspiration towards a fulfilling future as they return to our communities. We encourage and support our learners to aspire to Higher Education both in custody and after release through the courses we provide and through our collaborative work with universities. We share the stories of our learners and alumni to inspire others to invest in prison education.
Releasing human potential is central to what PET is about. That means enabling prisoners, as well as our own staff and volunteers, to realise their own learning ambitions and their own future hopes. We care what our learners and partners think and are active in working together with them to design, review and improve our services. We care about our team and support them through difficult times.
There are so many excellent organisations and people working in the prison education sector, from large providers of mainstream prison education, to small local charities, to individual prison teachers. PET believes that there is a need for much greater collaboration, coordination and communication to make the changes we all want to see. We commit to increasing collaboration into 2020 by continuing to develop the PLA (Prisoner Learning Alliance) , while building the PLAN (Prisoner Learning Academic Network) and PUPiL (Prison University Partnerships in Learning) networks. We will continue to collaborate with our existing partners, particularly with our most important stakeholders - our learners. We will also explore opportunities to form new working partnerships, especially with those working in the digital learning sphere.
We are tenacious
Prisons operate under mounting pressures and challenges concerned safety, overcrowding and understaffing. These environments are difficult places for learning and innovation to thrive. At PET, we keep striving to remove the obstacles in the way of prisoner learners, and work against the odds to find ways to give hope and opportunities. We know that prison reform is not always a popular political or public issue, and therefore we will continue to work imaginatively to influence policy and public opinion, never giving up on advocating for positive change.
We are expert
To ensure PET states the most powerful case for prison education and promotes the very best practice, we must speak with real authority based on a profound understanding of how prison education works and why. We commit to build our understanding of the need for, and impact of, education through robust research that is learner-informed. We will continue to share our expertise, while also learning from other experts – particularly those with lived experience, and we will support new research in the wider academic community, particularly through our PLAN network.
At PET, we know it is people themselves who can help transform someone else’s life. We rejoice in the success of our learners, our partners and our team, and will continue to recognise and celebrate learners, peer mentors, prison staff and others who promote learning communities in our prisons, in particular through the PLA Awards. We will shine a light on these, often unrecognised, individuals and encourage others to follow suit. We will continue to celebrate our team’s professional and personal achievements.
We are inclusive
PET values and celebrates everyone’s contributions and sees diversity as a strength and asset. Prisons disproportionately hold people from ethnic minorities, care leavers, foreign nationals and people with mental health issues and learning difficulties. Custody can be particularly difficult and challenging for children, for women, for elderly people, for people who are not heterosexual and people who are transgender. It is essential therefore that PET works to see beyond society’s labels, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their potential. People with criminal convictions face multiple barriers in realising their aspirations, and PET will continue to work to promote and value the strengths and skills they can offer; to remove barriers to education and employment, and to reduce discrimination. We are committed to reviewing and improving our own policies and practices in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion for our learners, partners and team. We will monitor our progress to ensure that we are doing everything possible to involve and include, in particular, those whose voices and experiences often go unheard.