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STEP Social Tutoring Environment for Prisoners
 Posted on 14/05/2014 - 17:11
Idea Outline
The feasibility of a platform for one-to-one numeracy and literacy learning using community volunteers while satisfying strict security and privacy criteria. Young offenders are targeted as they have huge needs resulting in large community benefits.

The Challenge
There is a severe global problem with lack of literacy and numeracy amongst inmates in prisons, corrective and social care institutions. To illustrate - “52% of male offenders and 71% of female offenders have no qualifications at all; 48% of offenders have literacy skills at or below level 1, while 65% have numeracy skills at or below level 1.” Unemployment after prison and re-offending rates are alarming. Literacy and numeracy can result in better employment prospects and reduced re-offending. The volunteer element would be provided by prisoner community support groups and other interested parties. The system can continue after release and provide extended support for life-long learning and the much needed guidance and support within the social communities to which they are returning.

The Solution

The peer-to-peer learning must operate in a secure and often disruptive learning environment. Communication with volunteers needs to be highly secure, constrained and immune to abuse. Solely text based solutions are inadequate as literacy is low and 20-30% of prisoners have learning difficulties or dyslexia. The feasibility study will:
1.Consult to establish initial target groups and their primary educational needs along with the technical challenges seen as barriers to widespread take-up
2.Take into account work done by standards bodies regarding e-learning, security and privacy and guidelines from the EU
3.Evaluate business models and analyse need and take-up through consultation with the community
4.Propose a technical solution as the basis for development through a future project


Target group and social impact
Digitally based one to one support for poorly educated and often dysfunctional people, many with learning difficulties and metal problems, will help address a key societal need. Learning started during incarceration can continue into often disrupted and fragmented lives. Some data: 27% of prisoners entered employment on release from prison. 47% of adults are reconvicted within one year. 73% of under 18 year olds are reconvicted within a year. 47% of prisoners say they have no qualifications. 21% of prisoners reported needing help with reading and writing or ability with numbers, 40% to improve work-related skills.(Bromley Briefings summer 2013 UK) Apart from the benefit to the targeted individuals, success in integration into society would reduce victims’ losses and care provision costs.




Competences of the applicant
We have a strong background in EU R&D projects(20yrs). This includes Information Security, Privacy and related standards where we have personnel on UK Government advisory panels. We work closely with universities focussed on communications and e-learning and have contacts with The UK Offender Learning and Skills Services and Community Police Services. We have also taught in prisons in the past.


Video Link
None posted
Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement
  • Knowledge Society and Education
  • Social Inclusion, Human Rights and Equality

  • Tecnology Category
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

  • Please log in to Rate this Idea

    useful tool, good idea, does not look so realistic, but a good idea

    great idea!

    A very worthwhile project; wish you all the best!

    Sounds like a great idea to me. I hope it goes ahead.

    Great idea, best of luck

    Interesting!