Prisoners’ Experiences of Foundation Skills – an Intensive Adult Literacy and Numeracy Programme Delivered in New Zealand Prisons
This transcendental phenomenological study addresses a gap in the current literature by exploring prisoners’ experiences of Foundation Skills, an intensive Adult Literacy and Numeracy (ALN) programme delivered in New Zealand prisons. Research with prisoners may help to improve the effectiveness of existing programmes and policies and thus contribute towards rehabilitation aims. In this study, ten male prisoners were interviewed about their experiences of Foundation Skills. The data was analysed using Creswell’s (2007) simplified version of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method outlined by Moustakas (1994) to arrive at a description of the essence of the participants’ experiences. The study found that the essence of the participants’ experiences was an increased interest and enjoyment in learning and education. The men all valued the programme as well as the opportunity to learn collaboratively. The participants’ aspirations for a better life and a better future for themselves and their whānau had a significant influence on their decision to learn and participate in education. Benefits of the programme, as well as factors that support or create barriers to learning were identified. The study outlines the implications of the findings for policy and practice and provides suggestions for future research.