Monday, March 10, 2014

Dyslexia: UK Charity teaches prisoners how to read and write

Patron: Rebecca Harris MP

A PIONEERING scheme aimed at cutting reoffending rates in prisons has been hailed as a success.

UK charity The Cascade Foundation has been carrying out a three-month pilot project in Doncaster Prison to provide education for inmates with dyslexia-related learning difficulties.

The charity teaches offenders basic literacy skills and diagnoses those suffering with learning difficulties.

It is hoped the work will stop prisoners reverting back to a life of crime and provide the skills to keep them on the straight and narrow.

The charity was set up by campaigner Jackie Hewitt-Main in her home in Kents Kill Road, alongside Benfleet councillor Andrew Sheldon and Chelmsford resident Karen Osman.

Ms Hewitt-Main said: “A large number of offenders in British prisons have learning difficulties. If offenders haven’t learned to read and write by the time they finish their sentence, they have little hope of properly interacting with society, getting a job and staying on the straight and narrow.

“We are taking them out of the traditional prison classroom environment with our teaching and setting up a support network of mentors amongst the offenders themselves to give them these skills and get them one step closer to rehabilitation.

Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris, who is dyslexic herself and a founding patron of the charity, added: “I am very proud to be a patron of the Cascade Foundation and it was great to travel up to Doncaster to see first-hand how their efforts are changing the lives of these offenders and through education, cut the chances of them committing further crimes.”

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