The Centre for Social Justice has identified five pathways to Poverty. These are family breakdown, educational failure, unemployment and dependency, addiction and serious debt. These pathways are incorporated, and many of those who are trapped in poverty have experienced more than one of these problems. http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/policy/pathways-to-poverty
When you are faced with this cycle what are the choices you face? There is not much of an alternative for young people who come from a background of poverty. The attraction of being in a gang and the feeling of being part of something has its attraction. This site states that http://voices.yahoo.com/understanding-gangs-more-prevelant-lower-class-99143.html. Being unable to attain social and economic opportunities, and the decline of institutions and the incapacity to manage and communicate effectively with young people, this may lead them to find security in a gang. Most gangs are intra-racial and members share mutual social, family and economic backgrounds.
Why do individuals join?
Individuals join a gang because they feel that they belong to a certain area, and these areas are usually disorganized urban areas, violence is often experienced around them. Several gang members are involved in legitimate social activities, nevertheless for some being in a gang can lead to crime and lead them away from conventional society.
The Home Office cannot provide figures for the number of gangs or for the level of gang related crime in Britain. The reason being data is difficult to obtain due to the fact that the Home Office is unable to provide a definition of what a gang is.
According to Vacca, J, S, (2004), since the 1990’s literature has established that prisoners, who have attended an educational programme in prison, are less likely to return to prison subsequent to their release. Studies have indicated that prisoners are less likely to re-offend when inmates have received appropriate education. Also the ‘right kind’ of educational programme leads to less violence by prisoners and this leads to a calmer prison environment. Effective Educational programs are those who assist prisoners with their social skills, artistic development and techniques and strategies that help them to deal with their emotions. http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/intranet/libpages.nsf/WebFiles/ITS+-+prisons+article+Vacca+04/$FILE/prisons+article+Vacca+2004.pdf.
So what is on offer in Prison? And does it work?
The Prisoners Educational Trust has provided a service since 1989, which access broader learning prospects for prisoners. This service gives the prisoners the opportunity to improve their chances of a quality of life once they have been released from prison. This service is offered through distance learning courses, in courses and levels that they are not available in prison. The Trust has supports over 2,000 prisoners each year. They do this through funding, and are funded by over fifty different foundations, and are recipients’ of individual donations from the Department of Business and Innovation skills. The Policy of the Prisoners Educational Trust is to raise awareness of the importance of education for prisoners. Within rehabilitation with access to academic, vocational, creative, and informal learning within the prison system.
Unfortunately offenders with a learning disability are not routinely identified and they are not offered the support that they require within the prison system. The Prisoners Reform Trust is a nationwide programme; in the United Kingdom it is called ‘No One Knows’. The purpose of the trust is to investigate and publicize the experiences of Individuals with a learning disability that enter the criminal justice system.
My thoughts on this are that the Prisoners Trust is beneficial not only to the Prisoners but to society as a whole. Unfortunately they are only able to provide this service through funding, and have provided this service since 1989. If they were unable to continue to provide this service there would be a major shortfall in the prison Educational service, as prisoners would not be able to attain certain recognized qualifications. The Criminal Justice System has indentified the five pathways to poverty; these are family breakdown, educational failure, unemployment and dependency, addiction and serious debt. With this in mind, how do individuals find a ‘way’ out? I came across this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ0lZBB0glQ. I so moved by one of the prisoners who said that ‘Education leads to Liberation’. I do believe in Education for everyone, and everyone should have access to an Education. Regardless of the consequences of being in prison. I chose this population as they are in a minority, and in life not everything is Black and White. Despite your background everyone should be ‘seen’ as an individual not just the population that you come from. There should be a better way of screening prisoners who may have a learning disability within the prison system. So that they have an equal right to an Education and support. If Individuals lack the motivational, or are unbale to internalize their goals and aspirations, because they have not received guidance or self belief in their own abilities. How can they move on in their lives? The cause of crime is linked with the inequality of Education and the socio-economic background that you may come from. This does have a psychological affect not only on the prisoner, their families and society.