The teaching staff in Prison Education Centres are employed by the relevant Education and Training Board (ETB) for the catchment area of each particular prison.
The City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) provides educational service in seven Dublin prisons. These are Arbour Hill, Cloverhill (remand prison), D�chas Centre (women’s prison), Mountjoy, Mountjoy West (formally St. Patrick’s Institution), Training Unit and Wheatfield. Because of the size and complexity of this provision, the CDETB’s Educational Service to Prisons is overseen by the Organiser of Education.
Participation by offenders in education is voluntary. The curriculum is devised in response to the needs of the prisoners and a comprehensive range of courses is taught from Basic Education (including reading and writing skills) up to examination level. There is a strong emphasis on the creative arts such as Drama, Music, Art and Crafts, Creative Writing and Photography. While many of the courses offer students in prison the opportunity to pursue mainstream certification, there are also a broad variety of courses and support materials designed by teachers to meet the ever changing needs and interests of the student and the changing needs of society and the policies of the European Union, in particular, those on social inclusion. The nature and practice of education in prisons falls into the category of Adult Education with a special emphasis on Second Chance Education. The Education Centres also provide support and backup to prisoners engaged in distance education courses such as those of the Open University.