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Voices From Correctional Educators and Young Offenders in Singapore: A Preliminary Needs Assessment Study of the Kaki Bukit Centre Prison School

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 58 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2007 Pages: 129-144
Kai Yung (Brian) Tam; Mary Anne Heng; Dennis Rose
Date Published
June 2007
16 pages
This article presents the results of a preliminary needs assessment study of the Kaki Bukit Centre (KBC) Prison School in Singapore.
Results from the teacher/counselor surveys indicated that working in the KBC prison school was challenging, meaningful, and enriching. Due to the wide range of student abilities, teachers reported having to adapt their lesson plans and develop teaching strategies to meet different learning needs. Teachers also had to consider age diversity issues as well as inmate risk, prison operational issues, and varying times inmates would enter into and exit from the prison school. Key attributes of effective communication between inmates and teachers were openness, sincerity, respect, and friendliness. Results from the inmate surveys indicated that inmates struggled with three main challenges in studying at the KBC: (1) limited choice of subjects; (2) lack of IT and audio-visual resources; and (3) insufficient time to complete the syllabus. Sixty percent of inmates reported that teachers were accessible during the school hours, which suggests that a small number of teachers were less responsive to the needs of their students. Eight main recommendations are offered, which include: (1) offer more in-service training programs for correctional educators; (2) implement a mentoring program for new correctional educators, and (3) implement a period for teacher-student consultation outside of the formal curriculum time. Participants were 58 inmates who voluntarily completed the needs assessment survey developed for inmates, and 9 teachers and 1 counselor who completed the corresponding survey developed for teachers/counselors. The analysis focused on the stakeholders perceptions of needs to be addressed and the gap between the current status of the KBC educational programming and the vision of what it should be. Data were thematically analyzed and categorized under their respective theme. Tables, references, endnotes