Royal Society of Arts
The Learning Prison Project
The Learning Prison suggests key principles for reform, central to which is that of seeing prisons as a core public service that benefits us all through rehabilitation as well as incarceration. It begins to re-imagine how prison’s role as educator could be placed centre stage to issues of public safety, setting out a vision of a modern service underpinned by strong evidence, community engagement and the deployment of the latest technologies.
This report tries to reflect the constructive nature of our deliberations and to highlight some of the innovations that were shared with us. At an important political moment, it argues for considerable political courage, leadership and inspiration to complement the willingness of practitioners to innovate and to secure greater public support.
A Matter of Conviction
In January 2016 the RSA and Transition Spaces embarked on the Future Prison project, which aimed within a year to explore how prisons in England and Wales could better support rehabilitation. The project builds on the RSA’s prisons work since 2009, on wider expertise and on an initial scoping event, Advisory Group discussions, seminars and discussion papers. Our timetable required us to make decisions about what we would seek to address and further details about our thinking on this can be found at the end of this report (Annex 1 page 142).
Having decided upon some principles of reform (see Key Points, page 12) and
defined our scope, we structured the project around cross-cutting themes: risk and rehabilitation; leadership, autonomy and devolution; education and employment; health and well being the workforce; and prisoner and family participation. This final paper sets out: the case for change; the context of and opportunities for change; a blueprint for community based rehabilitative prisons; and a framework for transformation.