November 2018 – Larisas, Greece
The International Day of Education in Prison 2018 was celebrated in the Second Chance School Unit that functions in the Larisas Prison. The school unit has been operating in the Prison for 14 years, providing Gymnasium level (Secondary education special curriculum) and its students are adult prisoners serving their penalty in the Correctional facility. The day was celebrated with reference to the value of prison education through films, a power point presentation and a discussion among prisoners and educators.
During the day, good practices from the field of prison education in Greece and Europe were presented. Also, a detailed presentation of Recommendation No. R (89) 12 of the Council of Europe took place followed by an open discussion, regarding the principals of Human Rights in prison education, pointing out that the educational needs of prisoners are very high due to the fact that most of them have a very low educational level. What is more, the role of prison education in the evolution of a prisoner’s personality in general was recognized, along with the role of education as a supportive frame to cope with imprisonment difficulties. Moreover, education as an important factor towards rehabilitation and social reintegration of prisoners was widely discussed.
Teachers and students agreed that prison education has improved over the years in Greece, but there is much more to be done, like providing proper staffing of prison school units and establishing educational programs that will cover a wider spectrum of prisoners’ needs, before and after Gymnasium level. In the end, the prisoners expressed their views on the value of education and asked for better access to education for all prisoners, use of libraries, participation in cultural and sports activities emphasizing that the subject of physical education should be included in the school curriculum. Finally, they asked for educational programs to help prisoners tackle reading and writing problems during and after imprisonment, as well as more opportunities to continue education after their release.
by Giorgos Trantas, School Headmaster