Education Programs at Silverwater Jail for Women


Silverwater jail for women is one of the largest correctional facilities for female offenders in NSW.

It is the main reception centre for women, and it is generally the first place inmates will be sent after sentencing, or while they are on remand and awaiting trial.

There are a number of different educational and rehabilitation programs offered for longer term inmates at Silverwater Women’s, which can help them rebuild their lives after they are released.

From basic literacy skills to advanced degrees, inmates at Silverwater, and many correctional centres in NSW, have the opportunity to learn new skills and increase their chances of finding employment in the community.

What programs and courses can offenders study?

The Adult Educational and Vocational Training Institute (AEVTI) offers a wide range of different educational opportunities to inmates in correctional centres across NSW.

There are a combination of different programs on offer, from adult education to more vocational courses in a number of subjects, including small business management, construction, information technology and courses in employability skills to help offenders improve their chances of finding work after release.

AEVTI also offers access to distance learning opportunities through outside institutions, including TAFE NSW, which can allow inmates to study vocational courses, diplomas, degrees and even participate in postgraduate studies.

Traineeships are offered to offenders with a sentence of 12 months or more.

These are run at the jails, and can lead to apprenticeships and other forms of vocational training. Some of the traineeships offered to inmates include animal care, business studies, clothing production and hospitality.

Are there programs for inmates with special needs or learning difficulties?

There are a number of courses and training programs for inmates with special needs, including students for whom English is their second language and those with learning difficulties.

There are also a range of provisions and programs tailored for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders, and young adults.

How do the programs work?

The AETVI programs work by providing teachers to guide students through the different requirements of the course and help them with any queries.

Once they have signed the enrolment forms, students can then gain access to any necessary learning material and computers.

Records are maintained and transferred between correctional centres if and when inmates are transferred.

Every correctional centre in NSW has a library where inmates can gain access to a wide range of different reference material, and use computers where appropriate.

What are the benefits for inmates?

Inmates at Silverwater jail for women can benefit from adult education programs in a number of different ways.

Learning new skills can build confidence and self-esteem and help to improve the mental and emotional health of female inmates, as well as give them direction when they are released.

Having limited educational opportunities has previously disadvantaged many female inmates.

Ongoing issues such as drug and alcohol dependence may have contributed to them being unable to gain basic qualifications.

Education programs in prison, along with drug and alcohol rehabilitation, can help women in custody gain basic skills, which can improve their future outlook.

By increasing the chance for female inmates to find gainful employment and support themselves financially, education programs may also be able to contribute to a reduced risk of reoffending over the long term.


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About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers, Sydney's leading firm of criminal and traffic defence lawyers.
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