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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    Celebrating Mother’s Day

    Women | Family learning

    Last weekend (15th March 2015), 61 year old Lesley, from Guildford, spent her first Mother’s Day since leaving prison with her two grown-up children. A year ago, though separated from her son and daughter, Lesley remained positive and used her time to study with help from Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET). She also helped many other disadvantaged women to overcome their addictions and learn to read.

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    Learner describes prison's OU centre for excellence

    All | Distance learning

    Ahead of a visit by Prisoners’ Education Trust staff to Littlehey prison this week (February 2015), Brian, a member of PET’s Learner Voice panel writes about his experience of studying a degree there, which he describes as a centre for excellence.

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    Award for architect student

    Older prisoners | Distance learning

    Staff from the Premier School of Building have recently awarded a certificate of merit to 47 year old James who has recently completed an Architectural and Building Drawing diploma, with support from Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET).

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    PET's 30,000th grant grows Duncan's gardening business

    All | Employability

    Our 30,000th grant recipient Duncan, writes to Prisoners' Education Trust about his motivation for studying a Landscaping Level 3 course. He writes: "My wife runs a garden design and maintenance business...I’d like to be able to make a more professional and informed contribution to her business."

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    Jon: "I changed from a prisoner to a student"

    All | Distance learning

    Jon, one of Prisoners' Education Trust's current learners, writes: "I believe there is a recipe for higher education in prison, a recipe consisting of: inspiration, opportunity, engagement and support."

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    Letter: drawing helps Steve overcome depression

    All | Arts

    After suffering with depression for a long time artist Steve set fire to his flat and lost everything. When he found himself in prison he had no self belief, but slowly with support from tutors and PET he began drawing again and regained his confidence. Read his letter.

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    Day release helped Jason rejoin society

    All | Education

    Jason went to prison aged 17 and was released just before he turned 30. After such a long sentence he found the Release on Temporary License (ROTL) scheme crucial in enabling him to adjust back to society.

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    Simon: “Education and books set me free.”

    Ex-prisoners | Distance learning

    Simon Short, 31, has spent the past three and half years since leaving prison developing a social enterprise that aims to reduce reoffending after he studied an Open University degree funded by Prisoners Education Trust (PET) in Psychology during his sentence. He says: “Education and books set me free.”

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    Juan: "Education helped me cope during my sentence."

    All | Distance learning

    Education helped Juan*, now 43, cope with an eight year prison sentence. As well as developing his love of learning and helping others by assisting the teacher in class, he says education felt safe. Juan said: “Education helps to cut violence, bullying and self-harming.”

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    Julio develops a career as an artist

    Ex-prisoners | Arts

    With no prior experience of painting, Julio Osorio became a prolific artist in prison, producing 60 paintings, one of which is currently being exhibited in London’s prestigious Southbank Centre until 30 November 2014.