Specialist Teacher, Presenter and Trainer.
The voices of illiterate male prisoners using AT to read.
Hearing the voices of inmates with little or no reading ability, was an important aspect of a long-term study within prisons throughout the UK. This presentation focuses on one of the four prisons in the study, prisoners undertaking their first tentative steps in learning to read using assistive technology; reading pens.
This presentation will decant the outcomes of a study which focused on prisoners who may have no recognizable ‘skills’. All the participants in this study had two things in common; they had committed a crime and they are unable to read. Their inability to read may be due to several factors such as dyslexia, environment; home and community; culture and/or language barriers. One may consider a causal link between environment, abilities, experiences and illiteracy impacting on limitation of choice and criminal behaviour (Clark and Dugdale, 2008). I was interested in gaining insight as to whether opportunities to learn to read, would offer better outcomes for their futures. Currently 60% of prisoners leave prison having gained no work skills and/or no educational and training qualifications (Coates, 2016). Having the chance to ‘read’ may not only improve rehabilitation outcomes, job opportunities and increase positive results for educators, but may improve the prisoner’s self-belief due to accessing the written word.