One of the biggest types of organisation that offers training and education is often forgotten about. Alongside schools, universities, colleges and training centres in this sense are penitentiary centres. These correctional facilities play a big role in the education of huge numbers of individuals all over the world. Providing these opportunities of taking language courses for penitentiary centres is important for a whole range of reasons.  According to the Prison Reform Trust, education within prisons and correctional facilities can help to:


  • Open up new opportunities
  • Provide educational enlightenment
  • Broaden horizons
  • Build self-confidence
  • Give a real alternative to crime
  • Furnish offenders with a true means of achieving success in the outside world


Statistics show that a large proportion of the prison population have little or no qualifications. In the UK, this is true for 52% of male offenders and 72% of female offenders. Because of this, many countries worldwide have recognised how important it is to offer high quality learning opportunities within penitentiaries.

Typically these educational opportunities have focused on key maths and literacy skills. Nevertheless, nowadays there is an increasing drive to offer alternative opportunities in addition to these.

Indeed, the idea of offering language courses for penitentiary centres is gaining more and more traction. We believe that language courses, along with educational resources such as online learning tools and language labs, can make a big impact on the population of a penitentiary centre.


language courses for penitentiary centres


Why is learning a language particularly important within penitentiary centres?

There are two key reasons why it’s important to provide language courses for penitentiary centres. Firstly, because learning a second language is an incredibly useful skill for anyone, the penitentiary population included. A second language can open up a whole range of opportunities in terms of career options. It can also offer huge benefits during time spent travelling or while communicating with multicultural groups. For these reasons, giving offenders the chance to learn a new language is likely to be incredibly beneficial to them.

The second reason why language courses for penitentiary centres are particularly important is due to the typical cultural make up of most correctional facilities. Most penitentiary centres house individuals from a huge range of backgrounds, ethnicities and territories. As a result of this, it’s normal to hear a large variety of difference languages spoken within these facilities.

Language courses for penitentiary centres can help to promote unity within what are sometimes volatile environments. Online learning tools and language labs can provide inmates with the learning resources they need to better communicate with those around them. This is particularly valuable for those inmates who don’t speak the same language as facility staff and administrators, but it can also be beneficial for those who do.


How can language courses for penitentiary centres be taught?

Correctional facilities may have a rather different atmosphere to other educational establishments and training centres. Nevertheless, the tools used for learning there are very similar. Tried and tested learning resources such as language labs and online learning tools can really help penitentiary centre based learners to focus on their studies and make real progress.

These two types of resources are particularly beneficial within a correctional facility environment as they can both be accessed independently, without necessarily requiring the one on one support from a tutor. Both language labs and online learning tools also offer learners the opportunity to practice speaking and learning skills virtually. This is beneficial in an environment when it is hard for learners to freely meet up to revise or study.

Of course, tutor involvement is always important. Luckily, most online learning tools and associated courses will give penitentiary centre based learners the opportunity to benefit from this. In some cases students may be able to attend in person classes, but in others they can access a real tutor via a virtual learning space. Virtual campuses and virtual classrooms can give this type of learner the full benefit of a language course in a way that is much more logistically possible from within a penitentiary centre.


Do you want to know more about the possibilities of this type of language course?

Tutors and students can access Dexway language courses through a cloud based software from anywhere in the world. These types of online learning tools would be ideal for a penitentiary centre environment, not least because they offer a comprehensive virtual learning environment, including language labs, virtual classrooms and digital revision exercises.

For more information about Dexway courses and the eight languages that are available (Spanish, French, German, British English/American English, Italian, Russian and Portuguese) please get in touch to arrange a free consultation.


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