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Literacy Changes Lives (2008): The role of literacy in offending behaviour

Added 15 Nov 2008 | Updated 26 Jul 17

Read about the link between literacy and offending in our review of existing research. 

In September 2008 we published a report, Literacy Changes Lives: An advocacy resource, which brought together research about the relationship between literacy and five areas of a person's life: economic well-being, aspirations, family life, health and civic/cultural engagement. This presented overwhelming evidence that literacy has a significant relationship with a person's happiness and success. It gives a clear indication of the dangers of poor literacy and also the benefits of improving literacy for the individual, the community, the workforce and the nation. 

One important area that we did not address in that report was the possible relationship between criminal behaviour and literacy. It is frequently claimed that low literacy is related to unemployment, a lack of aspirations, poor physical and mental health, and/or great deprivation, which can lead to crime. Therefore, it is said that literacy is a key part of any crime prevention strategy.

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