Rehabilitating prisoners: The place of basic life skills programmes

Michelle Jolley

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: Tackling high reoffending rates in England and Wales is of significant political interest, with education and training being viewed as an important mechanism to achieve change. The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a small empirical study examining a life skills programme delivered in a Category C prison in the West Midlands. Design/methodology/approach: The study used a multi-method approach incorporating observations of two modules, four focus groups with prisoners enrolled on the programme, questionnaires with programme completers, and semi-structured interviews with staff. Findings: The findings indicate that life skills are an important component in rehabilitation. More specifically, developing the necessary tools to assist prisoners in everyday life, such as recognition, interpretation, reflection, response, and planning is fundamental to rehabilitation. Research limitations/implications: A limitation of this study was that only prisoners currently at this Category C prison were included. This could be complemented by the inclusion of more participants who had completed the programme; however, access and data protection considerations limited the study to one location. Practical implications: The key message of this study is that without addressing basic life skills, education and vocational rehabilitation is severely limited. Social implications: To reduce reoffending rates, it is important to conceive rehabilitation in broader terms, not simply in relation to education and vocational training. Originality/value: This paper offers insight into an unreported area of good practice in prison rehabilitation provision. © Emerald Publishing Limited.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalSafer Communities
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2018


    • Education
    • Life skills
    • Prison
    • Prisoner
    • Rehabilitation
    • Reoffending
    • Thinking skills


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