The Learning Prison
Aim of the Report
For over 250 years the RSA has been a source of ideas, innovation, thought leadership and social engagement for civic society.
The Learning Prison evaluates the recent advances that have been made in prison learning and skills and also suggests modernisation of prisons that is consistent with other public services.
The report suggests key principles for reform and argues for greater user engagement. The report highlights the need for leadership and inspiration both from government and practitioners in order to transform policy and prison politics. It argues for a ‘more positive and powerful vision’ of prisons which should be centred on some essential codes of reform.
The Report Findings – Why User Voice?
Although the government has a strategy for public sector reform, the engagement of users has not been fully utilised in the criminal justice system.
This is because user engagement in the prison system is perceived as dangerous. The report highlighted a recent User Voice survey. It found that governors thought prisoner inclusion less important than security and staff competency in the successful running of prisons.
A strategy of modernisation is necessary; one which proactively incorporates the tools and thinking we have at our disposal. The report commends the use of User Voice Prison Councils and recommends a national review commissioned by the LSC. Prison Councils provides a catalyst for expanding user engagement in prisons. As the report says, it benefits staff/prisoner relationships “by breaking down barriers and enabling dialogue”. Therefore participation of users in the delivery and design of prison services can be highly effective.
The report also highlights User Voice’s work in developing a model of good practice in relation to prison councils.
For the full report please follow this link