ERIC Number: ED328798
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
The Illiteracy Myth. A Comparative Study of Prisoner Literacy Abilities.
Black, Stephen; And Others
Illiteracy is seen to be a feature of the Australian prisoner population. This belief has remained largely untested. A study compared the literacy abilities of prisoners to those found in the adult general population. Additionally, the study compared male and female prisoner literacy abilities. Assessments were made on a profile of literacy abilities of prisoners, and comparisons were made with those found in the adult general population using a national survey instrument. Tasks were identified in three main dimensions: document literacy, prose literacy, and quantitative literacy. An interview questionnaire surveyed 97 male and 95 female New South Wales prisoners on both background and literacy and numeracy related tasks. Comparative data were outlined based on mean scores and comparative percentages of correct responses on each item within the three literacy dimensions. Evidence presented strongly contradicts the prevailing views. On some of the literacy items, the prisoner samples actually performed better than the national survey counterparts. Generally, prisoners did as well as their national survey counterparts; findings indicated serious literacy problems that require an educational response, which is also true of the general community. Percentage differences between male and female prisoners appeared very small. (Appendices itemize correct responses and present literacy sample items. A list of 24 references is included.) (NLA)
Descriptors: Adult Literacy, Adult Reading Programs, Adults, Basic Skills, Correctional Education, Educational Improvement, Females, Foreign Countries, Functional Literacy, Functional Reading, Illiteracy, Males, Mathematics Skills, National Surveys, Prisoners
Adult Literacy Information Office, 199 Regent, Redfern 2016, Australia (free).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Australian Dept. of Employment, Education and Training, Canberra.
Authoring Institution: Technology Univ., Sydney (Australia).
Identifiers: Australia (New South Wales)
Note: New South Wales Dept. of Corrective Services provided additional funding to facilitate the project.