PrisoninEuropeOverviewandtrends.pdf

In some cases the national rules are particularly

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In some cases the national rules are particularly advanced. In France, for example, the law allows prisoners to be self-employed, on condition that they get authorisation from the warden. Actually some prisoners have managed to work independently in the last few years. But they are a very small number because there are many concrete difficulties (mainly related to the lack of access to the necessary electronic tools of communication). “Work that encompasses vocational training shall be provided for prisoners able to benefit from it and especially for young prisoners” (26.5) and “Prisoners may choose the type of employment in which they wish to participate, within the limits of what is available, proper vocational selection and the requir ements of good order and discipline” (26.6). Prison work should be an opportunity to develop confidence and skills needed to return to society (Coyle, 2009). As general rule, personal vocational training is rarely taken into account. Even if the national laws call for vocational training programs in order to meet rehabilitative goals (and indeed there are isolated attempts by selected employers to this end), the development of prisoners' skills and qualifications is not provided as general practice. The majority of jobs simply cover daily prison needs (e.g. cleaning, cooking, food distribution, etc.) and there are no personal development plans or preparation schemes for life after release. The “production” jobs are simple and repetitive, therefore they don' t require any special skills. QUALITY OF JOBS VOCATIONAL TRAINING
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European Prison Observatory Prison in Europe: overview and trends 30 In Spain and UK the opportunities for vocational training are more numerous: in Spain many courses are available in a variety of fields (industry, services and agricultural sector), while in the UK many prisoners get the chance to get training and thus improve their skills (inside or outside prison), but such opportunities can differ across the prison estate. Therefore, to get a job is considered a lucky chance in the main, whatever the kind of work and independently from personal predisposition. What is more, work is sometimes used as a bonus or to convince people to become informers to the police. It happens that the latter doesn't appreciate vocational training: in Portugal, i.e., the abandonment of training programs is sometimes very high maybe also because of obstructing matriculation by the police who may see this activity as an increase of their own workload. “The organisation and methods of work in the institutions shall resemble as closely as possible those of similar work in the community in order to prepare prisoners for the conditions of normal occupational life ” (26.7) . The working conditions in prison are quite different from those of similar work in the community. As for the quality of jobs, we already stressed how, in practice, the work inside prison is often mundane, repetitive and unskilled. Most of the jobs are not demanding and inmates’ duties are limited in comparison to similar work outside the prison. Manufacturing jobs often differ from the ones used in
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