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Prisoner's Right to Education

Please see the 2009 report from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr Vernor Muñoz (Costa Rica), addressing the right to education of persons in detention.


This is an issue all too often neglected by the public as well as by the responsible authorities, despite a worldwide prison population of close to 10 million, and despite broad evidence to suggest that prisoners are amongst the most socially disadvantaged groups in society. Being denied the right to education therefore poses a double obstacle for prisoners and ex-prisoners in their strive to live a life in dignity.


Based on extensive evidence gathered from many different sources - detainees and civil society as well as governments and the international community - the report attempts to provide a picture of the reality for prisoners and charts the legal obligations that are neglected or often absent.


Assessing the situation, the report proposes a set of strong recommendations, chief amongst which are the following: Education for people in detention should be guaranteed and entrenched in Constitutional and/or other legislative instruments; The provision of education for persons in detention should be adequately resourced from public funds; Compliance with the standards set forth in international law and guidance pertaining to education in detention should be ensured.


The Special Rapporteur further recommends that authorities in charge of public education make available to all detainees, whether sentenced or in remand, educational programmes that would cover at least the curriculum of compulsory education at the primary level and, if possible, also at the secondary level.


The report: The right to education of persons in detention (2009)

Page of the Special Rapporteur