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Friday, 20th November 2015

An Assessment of the English and Maths Skills Levels of Prisoners in England

From Press Release:

An assessment of the English and maths skills levels of prisoners in England (is) based on over 120,000 assessments made in the past year.

So what have we found? Firstly that literacy levels in prison are very poor compared with outside prison. Using the old Skills for Life definition of 'functional literacy', those with level 1 or level 2 literacy skills, in prison just 50% have these skills compared to 85% of the general population. We might expect level 2 skills to be poorer in prison, but 14% compared to 57% is a very large difference. The pattern is continued across all levels with 22% more prisoners having Entry level 3 literacy skills and 11% more with Entry level 2 skills. If anyone doubted the challenge of getting the prison population ready for employment, then surely they need no more evidence. For at least half of last year's prisoners, literacy will prove a significant barrier to gaining employment.

+ Report (PDF; 432KB)

+ Press Release


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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