Prisoners are responding well to literacy and numeracy education being incorporated into trades training programmes.
Corrections says low levels of literacy and numeracy among prisoners are among the major barriers to educational achievement and finding sustainable jobs on release.
The Department says 70% of prisoners function at a less than an adequate level of literacy in which a person can cope with the demands of everyday life and work in a complex, advanced society.
Corrections has begun 'embedding' literacy and numeracy into trades training programmes either overtly or through 'stealth mode', where the learner is unaware they are being trained.
"We know that assisting prisoners to reintegrate into the community through giving them opportunities to learn valuable skills, achieve nationally recognised qualifications, and helping them find sustainable work after release, they are less likely to re-offend," says Kris Dahl, Manager Offender Training and Education.
Instructors say fewer inmates are dropping out of programmes and there is a higher level of engagement and comprehension among them.
"Embedded literacy and numeracy has been shown to increase learner engagement, and course retention and completion rates," Mr Dahl says.
"It is considered a non-threatening way for adults to engage in literacy and numeracy educations, as it removes, or minimises, the stigma associated with poor literacy and numeracy skills.
"Prisoners are more able to cope with the theoretical aspects of trades training, are more enthusiastic about completing homework and better able to progress onto higher level qualifications."
Embedded literacy and numeracy education is now delivered in sectors as diverse as horticulture, farming, laundries, painting, grounds maintenance, catering, engineering, printing, forestry, joinery, carpentry and construction.
As at June 2013, 1,690 prisoners had taken part in trades training education embedded with literacy and numeracy. The programme takes place in all Corrections' prisons.