Literacy and Corrections | Littératie et services correctionnels

Correctional volunteer literacy tutors in Ontario | Tuteurs bénévoles en alphabétisation et services correctionnels en Ontario

Wednesday, 06 20th

Last updateMon, 04 Feb 2013 6pm

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Establishing a Volunteer Literacy Program in Ontario Corrections

Why establish a literacy program at my institution or probation and parole office?

With limited funding for educational activities available, the ministry is trying to increase literacy programming by using volunteer literacy tutors to help inmates and offenders under community supervision.

The need to establish literacy programming for inmates and offenders has long been identified as a contributor to addressing criminogenic behaviour. Literacy skills are critical for employment, and full participation in society. Literacy also helps them better understand and adjust to the rules and expectations of a correctional environment as well as the rehabilitative programming offered to them.

What is involved in establishing a literacy program?

A literacy program involves identifying inmates or offenders with literacy needs and pairing them with tutors. Since most community literacy service providers are generally unable to provide such tutors, the ministry recruits volunteers to provide literacy tutoring.

Recruitment brochures and material have been developed by the Offender Programs Unit and are available upon request. Once recruited, volunteer literacy tutors help inmates or offenders on a one-on-one basis or in a small group format. The type of tutoring depends on the operational requirements and space available at your location.

You will be required to record your literacy program in the OTIS Program Tracking module. Most material needs to be downloaded from this site or other websites and then printed. Some learning materials are available in DVD format designed for stand alone computers that are not connected to the Internet as per ministry policy. The Offender Programs Unit can help ministry locations acquire DVD materials and computers intended to be used for literacy programming. The computers can be obtained at no cost.

What steps need to be taken to establish a literacy program?

  1. Establishing a literacy program provided by volunteer literacy tutors requires the following steps:
  2. Identify the need for the program from the location demographics.
  3. Identify suitable space and program time slot.
  4. Become familiar with the literacy material on this website.
  5. Identify literacy tutoring as one of the main roles you wish volunteers to fill.
  6. This may mean directing some volunteers into literacy tutoring if they agree.
  7. Recruit dedicated volunteers to provide literacy tutoring.
  8. The Offender Programs Unit has material and brochures to assist when contacting organizations in the community that provide literacy programming, local school boards, community colleges, church groups, etc., regarding becoming a volunteer literacy tutor.
  9. Ensure that tutors have completed some form of literacy training, either formally through a community-based organization or by completing the online training identified above.
  10. Provide tutors with the Ministry Volunteer Handbook and the URL for the Literacy and Corrections website.
  11. Identify potential learners and pair them with tutors.
  12. Arrange to record literacy activities in OTIS Program Tracking under Education/Literacy.
  13. Encourage tutors to use the learning materials and the forum on this website.
  14. Monitor and support the tutors.

For Ontario corrections, if you have any questions or need assistance in establishing a literacy program, contact the Offender Programs Unit.

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