• State-wide protests and day of action held in solidarity with prison educators
  • Recognised teaching qualifications no longer required within state gaols
  • Union movement gearing up for broad alliance against prison service privatisation

The fight to defend public education in prisons has escalated to the IRC where the future of 138 adult educators in NSW gaols hangs in the balance.

Corrective Services NSW workers have been holding statewide protest meetings outside gaols against plans to replace qualified education officers with unqualified trainers on less pay.

The announcement of the proposed sacking of almost all existing prison educators has dealt “a devastating blow to public education in jails, a devastating blow to Teachers Federation members and to inmates, so many of whom have low levels of education and language and literacy skills,” Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron said.

The union movement is gearing up to develop a broad alliance to confront the Baird government on the issue of prison service privatisation and gaols more generally.

With two prisons already privatised and the John Morony Correctional Centre now out for tender it is clear the government is testing the waters to see how much they can get for the state’s correctional facilities.

“There could be little certainty of quality education in a privatised system where teachers are not even to be called teachers but ‘clerks’”, Mr Mulheron said.

A petition has been launched in support of prison education, which is a critical factor in reducing recidivism. The hope is to secure an upper house inquiry.

School and TAFE teachers last week held a day of solidarity in support of high quality prison education and a social media campaign is underway: #EducationBeatsCrime. 

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