than they would expect in colleges.
In addition, a number of attacks have led to increased fears for the safety of
teaching staff and tensions between unions and prison governors.
While organisations such as the University and Colleges Union have battled to
improve the lot of prison tutors, the forum had always seen its priority as
those who have little public voice - the prisoners themselves. But Steve
Taylor, as a widely-quoted pundit, believed lecturers' pay and the
effectiveness of the education they provide were always linked.
The forum, which was founded in 2000 and became a registered charity three
years ago, carried out research which showed that lecturers can expect to earn
7 per cent less in prison than they would get in colleges - even though
colleges have most of the prison education contracts.
Mr Taylor has been an outspoken advocate of the work of prison lecturers, once
being quoted as saying: "No one comes into prisoner education for the money.
People do it because they want to make a difference to people's lives and
The forum has been a regular critic of Government prison policy, citing the
size of the jail population, which it says has increased at the same time as a
reduction in the amount of education for prisoners, increasing their chance of
While being open about serving time in prison, he has been reluctant to speak
about it - pointing out the charity believes everyone should be given a second
chance after their release.
Mr Taylor, born in Bradford, took up the position of director of the forum in
2004, after a spell working on a youth crime campaign for the National
Children's Bureau. He has been a trustee of the Howard League for Penal Reform
and the British Society of Criminology, and remains a member of both
After being a Liberal Democrat for six years, he resigned in protest at the
party's stance on criminal justice this year.
He has written for every national daily newspaper in the UK and was awarded The
Longford Prize in 2005 for his "outstanding contribution to social and penal