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  • Studying in prison may reduce welfare dependence

    Studying in prison may reduce welfare dependence

Studying in prison may reduce welfare dependence

Prisoner training data and Centrelink data will be merged to determine the welfare and labour market impacts of in-prison education and training.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that up-skilling whilst in prison provides ex-prisoners with better opportunities in the workforce (Chavez 2011) and a previous study points to prisoners expecting better labour market outcomes from their training whilst in prison (Giles and Le 2010). 

The aim of this research is to quantitatively confirm these findings by linking prisoner education and training data and Centrelink benefits payment datasets.

Findings from this unique study will address a significant information gap in this area and will contribute to a better understanding of prisoner outcomes and particularly the value of prisoner education and training in Australia 

Research questions

  • Does in prison education and training lead to reduced welfare dependence?
  • If so, what type of in prison education and training best reduces welfare dependence? 

Research methods

Linkage of two comprehensive and longitudinal datasets – the merged prisoner management system and education and training data of the WA Department of Corrective Services and the labour market experience and welfare data of Centrelink.

Bivariate analyses of the linked data will examine:

  • The risk of re-offending for prisoners with different education and training participation and completions;
  • The probability of course completion for prisoners with different course enrolments and socio-demographic backgrounds; and 
  • Factors affecting the choice of different education and training courses.

These analyses will provide results for different genders, age groups and racial groups, including indigenous Australians. 

Researchers

  • Dr Margaret Giles, ECU, Chief Investigator
  • Mr Ray Chavez, DCS, Partner Investigator
  • Mr Ian D’Mello, DCS, Partner Investigator
  • Mr Ben Ryland, DEEWR (for Centrelink), Partner Investigator
  • Ms Jacqui Whale, ECU, Research Assistant 

Industry partners:

  • WA Department of Corrective Services; and
  • Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (for Centrelink). 

Funding body: 

Edith Cowan University – Industry Collaboration Grant

Timeline

1 January 2012 to 31 December 2014

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