The Baird Government’s decision to privatise prison education services will cost jobs and leave prisoners unable to access proper literacy and numeracy courses that they so desperately need.
More than 150 teachers employed in the NSW prison system are being made redundant with their jobs being taken over by clerks.
“This will be a disaster for the gaol system where literacy and numeracy is desperately needed and where qualified teachers have been making a vital contribution to the rehabilitation of inmates,” said NSW Teachers Federation Deputy Secretary Maxine Sharkey.
“To remove the opportunity for those prisoners who need to learn to read and write that helps them break the cycle of poverty and crime, is an appalling decision for a government to make in order to cut costs,” Ms Sharkey said.
Ms Sharkey said teaching staff employed by Corrective Services NSW were notified about the changes this morning.
“Corrective Services is putting education in the gaols out to tender and that will line the pockets of the discredited private providers who have so successfully rorted the vocational education system,” Ms Sharkey said.
“We are calling on Corrective Services Minister David Elliot to rethink this decision, and reinstate proper prison education, staffed by qualified full-time teachers.”
“At a time when prisoner numbers are at a record high, axing education services will remove a vital opportunity for those prisoners who want to learn to read and write, become numerate and reform their lives.”
“Education is one of the key components of reducing recidivism and it is vital that prison education programs are maintained with qualified teachers responsible for the delivery,” Ms Sharkey said.
“A large proportion of prisoners enter gaols without literacy and numeracy skills and they will stay that way if the Baird Government has its way.”
Ms Sharkey said there was an urgent need for more education services in NSW gaol, not less.
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