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Languages Behind Bars
Start date: 01 Oct 2012,

The rationale of this project is based on the high numbers of foreign national prisoners in European prisons, and the fact that prison authorities often do not take into consideration the special communication needs of foreign national prisoners (Femke Hofstee-van der Meulen, 2008). LBB is a multi-lingual, cross-cultural learning programme that incorporates not only the education of foreign-national offenders on language and cross-cultural awareness in the prison context, but also the education and certification of prison officers, to encourage more harmonised and effective interactions between staff and inmates. This project will produce a research report, an offline computer-based training course with trainer’s materials, a good practice guide for using language and cultural training to ease communication tensions between staff and foreign-national inmates in prison, and for the assessment and recognition of informal language and cultural learning by prison staff. The final beneficiaries of the project are foreign national prisoners and the prison staff working with them. Being able to understand and communicate information within the context of this regime is a prerequisite to this rehabilitative regime having any lasting positive effect. The impact of involving prison staff directly in this training process will be, as recommended by the Pathways to Inclusion conference, to help them maximise their “potential to motivate prisoners to engage in education as they are the people that have most contact time with them”. The certification of prison officers will have the impact of providing a recognisable incentive for new and existing prison officers to upgrade their skills to achieve EU standard certification related directly to their work. To reach its objectives LBB will apply an approach combining theoretical analysis, joint transnational development, and close and permanent interaction with stakeholders.
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