Education in prison is recognised as playing a key role in prisoner rehabilitation with basic numeracy and literacy skills offering a gateway to better social and economic mobility post-release.
Casuarina Prison Superintendent James Schilo said participating in education presented prisoners with an opportunity to break the cycle of crime.
“Education encapsulates the possibility of change,” said Superintendent Schilo.
“It helps prisoners from different backgrounds and experiences try to better themselves and stop the crime cycle and its intergenerational impacts.”
The theme of this year’s Adult Learner’s Week, Change Your Story, resonated with prisoners who gave powerful presentations at a special event in Casuarina’s education campus.
A Welcome to Country was delivered in Noongar and English by one prisoner who said he was privileged to know his culture was being taught in prison.
Another talked about goal setting and how he had benefitted from the courses he had completed while in prison and planned to be a strong role-model to his children in future.
Corrective Services Commissioner, Mike Reynolds, said a range of education opportunities are offered to people in custody around WA.
“We aim to ensure people are leaving prison with skills to help them better reintegrate with the community post-release from literacy and numeracy units to university-level degrees and vocational training which provides job-ready qualifications,” said Commissioner Reynolds.
Casuarina Prison currently has capacity to hold 1,438 adult male prisoners, but a planned expansion will see the number of general-purpose beds increase to 1,900 with prison education to increase accordingly.
Recently the prison has become involved in the Indigenous Tertiary Enabling Course (ITEC) which offers students the opportunity to complete a bridging course for entry into Curtin University.
Four prisoners currently involved in the ITEC course are among the top six performing students in the State.