Beyond Youth Custody


When Jason, from the Travellers’ community, arrived at HMP Ford he was unable to read and write. The prison’s model of good practice for Gypsy, Traveller and Romany (GTR) prisoners provides people with access to the Shannon Trust Reading Plan through confidential mentoring and support.

To begin with, Jason found things very difficult. He persevered, and eventually found the breakthrough that he was searching for when he was introduced to the computer and keyboard.

Jason’s biggest motivating factor was that he had three young children and he wanted to be able to write to them. He wrote to his children; wanting to surprise them. He hadn’t even told his wife that he was learning to read. When he received a reply to his letter from his daughter, it was a wonderful experience for him. For Jason, the best thing was that he could actually read was she had said.

When Jason went on home leave, he was able to help his children with their homework. Family relationships improved. Being able to read and write had a significant impact on many areas of Jason’s life. He was nominated for an award, and wrote about his experiences for a newsletter.

Everything’s changed due to the literacy skills that Jason has learnt. It has had a profound effect on his outlook and motivation. He’s now in work.

Tagged with the theme:

Resettlement of young offenders: informing practice, improving outcomes