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Swedish prisoners seek higher learning

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 17 Mar 2010, 12:06

Published: 17 Mar 2010 12:06 GMT+01:00

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In 2009, 1,060 prisoners successfully completed 1,775 courses, almost double the number achieved in 2007, the figures show.

The interest for adult further education has grown continuously in recent years and it is especially courses at tertiary and high-school level that have grown in popularity. Swedish for immigrants (SFI) courses have also experienced a boom in demand.

It is not just the number of grades and students which is so positive, the standards are also high, the service said.

"We maintain a very high level of quality. Quality and offering the possibility for everybody to study have always been top priorities," said Lena Axelsson, head of education at the service, in a statement on Wednesday.

Axelsson pointed out that grades awarded by the prisons service are worth as much as those issued by other educational establishments in society.

"The prisons service operates according to the same laws and conditions as all schools in society and the schools inspection monitors our operations," she said.

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The service also pointed out in its statement that grades issued by the prisons service do not state where they have been issued.

The Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården) employs 125 teachers at its facilities across the country.

TT/Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:27 March 17, 2010 by Deema
This is so refreshing to hear :) It's nice to read a good piece of news every now and then. Education is the one thing that should be available to every one.. FOR FREE! :)
13:46 March 17, 2010 by zircon
Cynical as always, especially when one takes him or herself serious... Pricks!
15:43 March 17, 2010 by Nemesis
Actually this is a very good idea and the authortiies are to be commended for trrying it.

In Northern Ireland they gave prisoners access to educaiton to post graduate level. It appears to have assisted in turning a lot of people from violence to politics as a lot learned there history and how to build better communities.

The best thing to do is look at shortages in the labour market and train them for those areas.

I would suggest getting as many as possible into degree programs and possibly as far as post graduate, as that will drop the likelyhood of reoffending substantially.
03:37 March 18, 2010 by RoyceD
If someone who is in prison is able commit to studying like this then, in my opinion putting them in prison is a wrong move in the first place. The type of person who can study like this is not in need of removal from society as a form of punishment. They are in need of a supportive environment.

While I commend the efforts put forth by both the inmates and their education mentors, I am still dismayed at the fact that we as a society still use prisons as a remedy for criminal behavior.

I have worked and studied the effects of jail time on people and it is by ALL reports completely detrimental to our society. Jails and prisons are things of the dark ages. They do not work, and in most cases make the situation worse for everyone involved.
07:44 March 18, 2010 by johnnyrebel
Might as well make good use of your time. I always tended to feel sort of confined in school...maybe prison would be an ideal place to do some booking.
11:50 March 18, 2010 by Nemesis
@ RoyceD

Prisons in Sverige are nothing like Prisons in any other country.
12:55 March 18, 2010 by Sjayna
It is good that the prisoners take the change to study....but I don't think that they should have the right to get a grant from CSN, around 2600 kr/month (full time studying). Its waste of tax money... After all they have free board and accommodation plus daily compensation.
13:44 March 18, 2010 by Audrian
I do not understand how modern people think. Homeless are left to suffer in the winter cold while prisoners enjoy paid leisure. I think prisoners should be made to work (e.g., labor intensive mnifacturing) and pay for their food and rent from their incomes. They should also pay for the cost of their crime.

Hence, prison terms should not be stated in terms of years of incarceration, but rather in terms of their debt to society. As soon a prisoner pays his debt he is out. in this arrangement families are not allowed to cover the debt of a criminal. This way prisons become correctional facilities by way work.
14:35 March 18, 2010 by Puffin
@ Audrian

While I agree whith you that the plight of the homless is bad - many of course are former prisoners as well as addicts and mentally ill

however you need to look at the facts about Prisoners

- do have to work while in prison - usually in manufacturing or prison services

- paying for accomodation would be a little self defeating as they they would have to be paid to work as many have to source of income other than work/benefits

- although those sentenced to forensic psychiatric treatment DO have to pay for this treatment

- prisoners are ordered to pay compensation to victims in Sweden
16:15 March 18, 2010 by andyman
@ Audrian

your spot on there.

its great they can study, but they should be working for their expensive burden on the tax payers.
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