Learners' Stories

Over the past 25 years Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) has helped thousands of people in prison.

We regularly receive letters from our learners and alumni about their achievements both in prison and back in their communities. People like Frank, who had been in and out of prison for more than 30 years before he found his ‘way out’ of crime through education. He is now in his final year at university. Search for their stories, experiences and views below. Some of their letters highlight the barriers that prevent people from learning in prison and through PET's work championing prison education we seek to address their concerns. 

 

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    Writing Competition 2017 - Why Prison Education Matters

    All | Learner voice

    To mark the second International Day of Prisons, we asked people in prison to submit poems, short stories and essays addressing the question: โ€œWhy does Education in Prison Matter?โ€ We received dozens of submissions in each category, and a panel of PET staff and volunteers whittled them down to the strongest.

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    Our stories: Doing GCSES and A Levels in prison

    All | Learner voice

    So far this year, PET has funded over 200 people to take GCSE, AS Levels and A Levels in prison, a handful of whom managed to take their exams inside. As they await, lament or celebrate their results along with students up and down the country, we asked them why they chose to study these subjects, what effect it has had, and what they hope to do next.

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    Zackโ€™s animation: helping families understand a prisonerโ€™s journey

    All | Learner voice

    Zack, a prisoner in Wales, is currently being released on temporary licence to complete a graphic design degree. As part of this, he created an animation which serves as a guide for families of serving prisoners, convincing them that there is hope, and progression, within the prison system.

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    I learnt to drive a truck in prison: Deeโ€™s story

    Women | Employability

    After 15 years in prison, Dee is embracing the open road as an articulated lorry driver, with a little help from PET.

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    "Learning how to learn" at 41: A letter from 'Lee'

    All | Learner voice

    'Lee', a life-sentenced prisoner, wrote to PET as he approached the end of his sentence to share his remarkable learning journey, and how education helped him to stay away from drugs.

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    A truckload of ambition โ€“ Benโ€™s story

    All | Employability

    Ben is starting out on the road towards starting his own business - recycling lorry parts - after being released from prison one year ago.

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    My role recruiting graduates to prisons

    Ex-prisoners | Prison staff

    Ben, a former prisoner, was selected to act as an assessor for Unlocked Graduates, the ambitious new recruitment scheme that aims to attract university leavers to the prison system. He shares his experience of meeting aspiring prison officers, and why he believes the scheme will prove successful.

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    How I got here - alumni digital stories

    Ex-prisoners | Learner voice

    Alumni Jayne, Julio and Javed tell their stories through a unique digital storytelling course with the help of the charity Stretch Digital.

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    What reading in prison means to me

    All | Literacy

    In our page in last monthโ€™s Inside Time PET asked our readers to tell us about their relationships with books and reading. We also took the question to a Prison Reading Group at HMP Wandsworth. To mark World Book Day, hereโ€™s what they said.

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    My prison diary - Part #1 โ€“ โ€˜Why?โ€™

    All | Learner voice

    Andrew was 36 and had been locked "more than he'd be free" when he received his latest sentence. It was a failed suicide attempt that propelled him to start writing. In this first extract, we hear from Andrew as he decides to grapple to understand his past and move towards a better future.