Educational services are available in all prisons and are provided in partnership with a range of educational agencies including the Educational Training Boards (ETBs), Public Library Services, the Open University and the Arts Council. The Department of Education and Skills provides an allocation of 220 whole-time teacher equivalents.
Literacy, numeracy and general basic education provision is the priority and broad programmes of education are made available which generally follow an adult education approach. Programmes are adapted to take account of the diversity of the prisoner population and the complex nature of prison life. Junior and Leaving Certificate courses are available. QQI accreditation is widely used by the ETBs.
Course and programmes can be broadly categorised as follows:
• Basic Education - including literacy, numeracy, English as a second language and communications
• Creative Arts - notably music, sound recording and production, drama, art, craft, stone work, creative writing, film production and photography
• Technology - including woodwork, woodcarving, metalwork, computer-aided design, information technology and horticulture
• General Subjects - incorporating history, languages, geography, home economics and English literature
• Life Skills - personal development, interpersonal skills, anger management, parenting, child care, addiction studies, driver theory, food hygiene, etc.
• Healthy Living - notably physical education, sports, fitness and recreational activities, health education, diet and nutrition.
The Irish Prison Service has developed a three year joint education strategy with the Education and Training Boards for the 2016-2018 period.