Teaching in a prison: 'Education has the best chance of turning lives around'

Emily Dewar-Langridge teaches young offenders at Feltham prison, and has won an award for the difference she’s made to students. Here, she explains her role

More Teaching in Alternative SettingsI’ve been a teacher at Feltham prison – an institution for young male offenders – for two years now. I work with 15 to 18-year-olds, but only a few of them stay with us throughout those years. The average sentence served here is about four months, so the group changes frequently.

The actual crimes committed vary; it could be anything from shoplifting, theft or graffiti up to rape and murder. A lot of people ask me why I do my job – and say that the boys don’t deserve an education because they’ve committed crimes. But as I see it, if you’re in prison at 15 you can’t be solely to blame. These boys have been failed somewhere along the line. I believe education has the best chance of turning these young lives around, preventing more crimes being committed on release, and enabling offenders to become valuable members of the community.

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