A Prison within a Prison

Short literature review exploring ESOL provision in the custodial setting.

About the research

‘A Prison within a Prison’ is a short literature review by Dr Catherine Carroll, Dr Jane Hurry and Anita Wilson at the Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System (CECJS) at the UCL Institute of Education. It was commissioned by The Bell Foundation to help inform its long term work with offenders and ex-offenders who have English as a Second Language. It looks primarily at the ESOL provision in the custodial setting.

The report concludes that:

  • There is no national data available on the number of individuals in the criminal justice system with ESOL needs, making it difficult to plan for provision for this group.
  • Delivering effective ESOL in the custodial setting is challenging, due both to a lack of knowledge about the target group and due to the frequent transfers and movement restrictions of prisoners.
  • Having ESOL needs in prison presents a very real challenge for prisoners’ experience in prison and after release.