How to Change a Life
A significant proportion of prisoners struggle with basic reading and writing. UK prisons 57% of adult prisoners have literacy levels below those expected of an 11-year-old. PeoplePlus offers education including literacy in 22 prisons across the UK to addressing literacy challenges, offering literacy classes, vocational training, and support to improve reading and writing skills. These courses aim to equip individuals with the necessary tools to enhance their literacy levels, empowering them for a successful reintegration into society upon release. One of the prisoners' whose life has changed thanks to joining the education courses whilst incarcerated at HMP Onley is K.
K has struggled with poor literacy all his life, after slipping through the cracks and being excluded from school at the age of 13. Since arriving at HMP Onley in September 2022 he joined the education classes and successfully completed his English entry level 3, level 1, level 2 and his GCSE in English. The PeoplePlus education team were so impressed with K, they asked him to complete the peer mentoring course, which he successfully did and is now mentoring other prisoners in English education classes!
As a man in his 50s who was always reliant on others to assist with his reading and writing throughout his life, to now being the one helping others is a huge achievement for him. Working together the team at HMP Onley and the education team at PeoplePlus were able to give K the confidence and support he needed to not only gain a meaningful qualification, but to be given the opportunity to mentor other prisoners on their journey, something that gives K purpose.
“When I started, I had not been in a class for almost 38 years and lacked knowledge and some basic skills. Now I’m much more confident and proud of myself and what I can do. I am more confident writing letters and emails and often look at what I’ve written and think “did I actually do that?”
“It has given me the belief that I can really help others, I'm about to start Shannon Trust Mentor training and I am also applying to be a listener.”