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Procedure Properties

Title: Education of Prisoners
Category: Offender Management
Version: 04
Implement Date: 14 November 2011
Application: Custodial Operations




Local procedures

Ownership: Offender Intervention Services

Procedure - Education of Prisoners

2.Education programs
2.1Prisoner study/education requests
3.Screening and assessment
4.Education planning
5.Education records
6.1Helana Jones Centre
8.External Studies
8.1Cost of participation
8.2Information Communication Technology for study purposes
9.Full-time students


To ensure that a prisoner's education and vocational needs are identified through appropriate assessment and that access is provided to recommended education and vocational programs to address those needs.

1. General

Prisoner participation in education and vocational programs is based on assessed needs facilitated through a learning plan developed at the point of admission.

Adult education is an education priority and is available at all corrective services facilities.

Programs of education and vocational training must be designed, delivered and assessed to national accredited standards leading to qualifications that are nationally recognised (refer Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF)).

2. Education programs

Access to the following categories of education programs must be provided to prisoners in corrective services facilities-

  1. Literacy and Numeracy (including English as a Second Language);
  2. Secondary education;
  3. Tertiary including Tertiary Preparation; and
  4. Vocational Education and Training (VET).

If a particular course or program is not provided at a corrective services facility, the prisoner may request access to that program, or equivalent program, through distance learning. If assessed as suitable, enrolment and participation should be facilitated.

Some courses or competency units/modules of courses of study may not be considered suitable for study within some corrective services facilities or for certain prisoners. This may be due to security or safety concerns regarding course content resources or materials required or inability to attend compulsory residential schools. If this occurs the general manager must make a determination regarding suitability.

2.1 Prisoner study/education requests

The General Manager must consult with the Director, Adult Education, Vocational Education and Training (AEVET) regarding the approval of study requests in which-

  1. any external studies, including under-graduate, graduate or post graduate, involve and/or require, or have the potential to involve and/or require, the prisoner to engage in prohibited areas of research as detailed in the procedure - Conducting Research;
  2. the General Manager is unsure whether the study and/or research may involve a risk to the safety and security of the facility or the studies include a requirement for interaction with human subject/s;
  3. the study involves research that involves issues that may pose a risk to the Agency; or
  4. the General Manager is unsure of the suitability of the field of study for the prisoner.

With the exception of requests to undertake prohibited research, which is covered by the procedure - Conducting Research, the General Manager, in consultation with the Director, AEVET, must determine when prisoners must make an application to the QCS Research Committee (refer procedure - Conducting Research).

3. Screening and assessment

Prisoners must be placed into educational programs based on assessment and identification of their education and vocational needs. Refer procedure - Assessment

All sentenced prisoners in corrective services facilities must undertake a literacy/numeracy screening to identify any literacy and numeracy needs. The object of the literacy/numeracy screen is to provide a quick and simple method of flagging prisoners requiring further assessment to address any language, literacy and numeracy deficits. Literacy/numeracy screening must be conducted during the prisoner's reception into corrective services custody.

If an initial literacy and numeracy screening identifies a language, literacy or numeracy deficit, further assessment must be conducted for prisoners serving periods of imprisonment in excess of 12 months. Prisoners serving periods of imprisonment of 12 months or less may undertake further assessment if it is considered beneficial and subject to resource availability.

Assessments must be conducted as soon as practicable following identification of need and must determine the specific needs and level of support required.

Literacy and numeracy screening and assessment of prisoners on remand may be conducted. This should normally occur-

  1. if prisoners with special learning needs are received or as other circumstances dictate; and
  2. if time and resources allow.

4. Education planning

Information obtained from assessment processes including identified needs from the literacy and numeracy screen, along with other information provided by the prisoner during interview/s, must be considered when developing the initial Offender Rehabilitation Plan (ORP).

Maximum participation by prisoners in the planning and implementation of education plans should be encouraged. Refer procedure - Planning

Education plans must include-

  1. goals, strategies and activities;
  2. educational needs in the areas of literacy/numeracy, secondary, tertiary and VET; and
  3. provision of clearly specified learning objectives to enable prisoners to meet identified needs within negotiated and reasonable timeframes.

Specific programs must be identified and recommended within the Offender Rehabilitation Plan to enable achievement of the learning objectives.

Prisoners referred to recommended programs may be-

  1. listed for immediate program inclusion;
  2. placed on a waiting list;
  3. enrolled in an external program, and/or
  4. referred to a staff member responsible for allocating employment within the corrective services facility in accordance with established vocational needs.

Priority for enrolment in educational and vocational training programs must be given to prisoners recommended to undertake a specific program/s as part of their Offender Rehabilitation Plan.

5. Education records

Records of a prisoner's educational history while in custody should be maintained in IOMS and should include-

  1. results of literacy/numeracy assessment/s (refer IOMS > Offender File Window > File Contents > Offender Management > Assessments > Actions > New > Literacy/Numeracy Assessment);
  2. details of course registration;
  3. Individual Intervention Completion Report (refer IOMS > Location File Window > File Contents > Programs > Available Courses > select course > Enrolments > select offender > Actions > Offender Course Completion Record > update record > Create Report);
  4. Intervention Case Reports (refer IOMS > Offender File Window > File Contents > Offender Management > Case File > Add New Report > Intervention Case Report); and
  5. external education records. (refer IOMS >file contents>programs/ services/activities >external education summary.

Copies of awards and statements of results should be stored on the offender file.

6. Referral

Following the transfer of a prisoner serving a period of imprisonment in excess of 12 months to another facility an education officer at the receiving facility must-

  1. review the Offender Rehabilitation Plan in terms of the continued relevance of the recommended programs/courses and identify any new or changed needs; and
  2. make changes to the Offender Rehabilitation Plan and further recommendations for education programs as considered appropriate.

Refer procedure - Review

Prisoners must be referred to education programs in accordance with recommendations contained within their Offender Rehabilitation Plan.

6.1 Helana Jones Centre

Helana Jones Centre does not provide education services on site. Prisoners who wish to undertake education programs may be referred to existing providers in the community. Any direct or indirect costs will be the responsibility of the prisoner. A nominated corrective services officer at the facility must be responsible for referring prisoners to recommended educational programs.

7. Review

Individual assessments for each education program participant must be undertaken-

  1. on completion of each program or competency unit/module;
  2. at six monthly intervals for ongoing programs;
  3. prior to a review of the Offender Rehabilitation Plan;
  4. on request; or
  5. if special circumstances exist.

Individual assessment must include as a minimum-

  1. details of attendance;
  2. results of assessment;
  3. participation/contribution; and
  4. recommendations for future programs.

An intervention case report detailing progress and/or exit reports for all education programs undertaken within the period of review must be provided for a review of the Offender Rehabilitation Plan. Refer procedure - Review. Nil participation in education programs recommended in the Offender Rehabilitation Plan must be noted (with reasons if available).

If a prisoner chooses not to participate in a recommended education program due to the financial cost associated with participation in that program then the prisoner should not be penalised by not meeting the recommendation in the Offender Rehabilitation Plan as a result of financial hardship.

A Review Panel may make further recommendation for education programs in accordance with a prisoner's assessed needs.

If transfer of a prisoner to another facility is under consideration the prisoner's Offender Rehabilitation Plan and current program enrolment must be taken into account. Conformity with recommendations and continuity of program enrolment should be observed if possible (refer procedure - Transfer of Prisoners, section “Transfer Decision”).

8. External Studies

8.1 Cost of participation

Except if provided free of charge by Government, an institution, organisation or a person, the cost of participation in education programs must be met by the prisoner. Cost of participation may include-

  1. enrolment fees;
  2. Higher Education Loan Program (HELP);
  3. amenities/union fees;
  4. textbooks; and
  5. learning materials and resources.

Corrective services facilities may enter into an agreement with a prisoner to make payment for a part of, or the full cost of, participation with repayment by the prisoner over an extended period of time subject to the-

  1. program being recommended in the Offender Rehabilitation Plan;
  2. prisoner meeting program enrolment requirements, education and/or experience pre-requisites, as appropriate;
  3. satisfactory completion of previous program/s;
  4. course being accredited and if the provider is a recognised education organisation;
  5. prisoner having the financial capacity to meet repayment requirements;
  6. prisoner being expected to remain at the facility for the period of time required to meet repayment requirements; and
  7. payment of fees by the facility being within budgetary limits.

Prisoners are encouraged to seek alternative/concessionary funding arrangements for participation in education programs if possible (for example, deferral of HELP, scholarships, trusts and financial hardship concession rates).

8.2 Information Communication Technology for study purposes

  1. Prisoners enrolled in external studies may apply for a laptop through the QCS In-cell Computer Program. Refer procedure - Computers - Offender Access to In-Cell Computers; and
  2. Learning materials included in study packages from Educational Institutions may include CD ROMS and DVDs. Access to these learning materials must be facilitated by the Education/Vocational Training Officers if possible. Refer procedure - Property of Offenders, for appropriate recording and storage of CD ROMS and DVDs.

9. Full-time students

Each facility must allocate a number of full-time student positions within the facility employment profile. Refer procedure - Remuneration

Referral for participation as a full-time student may be made by-

  1. an Education/Vocational Training Officer; or
  2. the Review Panel.

A prisoner may request full-time student status directly to an Education/Vocational Training Officer.

Participation as a full-time student is subject to a prisoner meeting one or more of the following criteria-

  1. a tertiary student who is working independently, but may require access to computer or other resources and general guidance and/or tutorial assistance;
  2. a student who is enrolled in a minimum of two subjects of secondary education studies;
  3. a student wishing to address a deficit in language, literacy or numeracy and requiring an individualised learning program incorporating face-to-face contact with tutors etc; and/or
  4. a student who is enrolled in education/VET classes and/or participation in a substantial number of hours of intervention programs.

Discretion may be exercised in relation to students who are undertaking a program of education that may not meet the criteria but is considered to be a full load for the particular student (for example, a prisoner from a non-English speaking background who speaks little or no English, a visually impaired or intellectually impaired student).

In accordance with procedure - Remuneration, full-time students will normally commence at level one and may progressively move through to level three. Progression will be subject to suitable attendance, study commitment and assessment reports/outcomes. A full-time student may commence at a level other then level one if special circumstances exist and if in the opinion of the responsible manager this is warranted.

Full-time students should undertake a minimum of 10 hours contact time per week, excluding individual study. At the discretion of the responsible manager this requirement may be waived for tertiary students or if special circumstances exist.

An Education/Vocational Training Officer must submit a recommendation for prisoner participation as a full-time student with approval being granted by the responsible manager.

A structured timetable must be determined for each full-time student outlining daily class attendance and responsibilities. This timetable should include goals for a six-month period or the duration of the program, whichever is shorter. The goals should be established with the full participation of the prisoner.

Participation as a full-time student is dependant on satisfactory progress in those programs for which approval was granted. Performance reviews must occur at regular intervals and at a minimum must coincide with reviews of the Offender Rehabilitation Plan. Refer procedure - Review

Performance reviews must-

  1. document class attendance if applicable;
  2. document the level of performance, progress and/or achievement of outcomes;
  3. recommend for continuation or otherwise of full-time student status; and
  4. if appropriate, set further goals for the next review period.

The performance review must be recorded on the Intervention Case Report (refer IOMS > Offender File Window > File Contents > Offender Management > Case File > Add New Report > Intervention Case Report).

10. Reporting

If possible the administration of education programs must be undertaken using IOMS.

Literacy/numeracy and VET programs provided through the centrally contracted competitive funding tender must be reported as determined by contractual obligation at the commencement of each new contractual period. Facilities must be notified accordingly.

Other education statistics, including VET, Brisbane School of Distance Education (BSDE) enrolments and other external education statistics are required in accordance with various reporting requirements (eg monthly reports, National Corrections Advisory Group (NCAG)) and must be coordinated at a facility level. The reports must be submitted to the AEVET Branch within the nominated time frames.

11. Evaluation

All face-to-face education programs delivered within a facility must be evaluated for both delivery process and outcomes.

Process evaluations must occur at a facility level and will include as a minimum-

  1. quantitative outcomes of the program;
  2. facilitator assessment of the program; and
  3. participant feedback on the perceived value, structure and delivery of the program.

Participants should complete administrative form - Participant's Evaluation of Education Course-

  1. at the completion of each program; or
  2. annually for on-going programs.

Facilitators should complete administrative forms - Facilitator Evaluation of Education Course and Evaluation of Participant in Education Course-

  1. at the completion of each program; or
  2. annually for on-going programs.

Offender Intervention Services must conduct outcome evaluations of prisoner education programs as required.

Endorsed by:


Executive Director, Offender Intervention Services

Approved by:

Acting Commissioner

Version History

14/11/2011 Version 04 - 24/07/2009 Version 03 - 08/08/2008 Version 02 - 28/08/2006 Version 01 - 01/07/2001 Version 00