Graham Lowe coaches prisoners towards a second chance

Rugby League legend Graham Lowe is using his coaching skills to educate inmates at a high security prison in Auckland.

The unusual method of using sports language to teach subjects like maths seems to be a winner. This week all of those who took part scored an NZQA certificate.

The former Kiwis coach told Newshub that he could speak in a way that was relatable to the prisoners: "Many of them in here weren't even born when I was doing what I was doing but I talk in a language that they understand. "

The league icon uses sports language to teach maths, reading and writing behind bars. He explains how he helped one inmate struggling with maths. 

"I said how many tackles are there in a set and he said six so I said if there's five minutes to go how many sets do you think you'll be able to fit in five minutes. He got it straight away."

Fifteen prisoners took part hitting the field, gym and books 20 hours a week for four months. This week they all graduated scoring a level 2 foundation NZQA certificate.

Ben's one of the inmates who took part. He left school at 14 and told Newshub what the programme had done for him: 

"It's helped me figure out who I am as a person and where I'm going to go."

Before doing the course his future looked bleak, saying that the only place he thought he'd end up was "back on the street". 

Training with the former Kiwis and Queensland State of Origin coach was a big motivator for Ben because "he's been there done that. He's somebody." 

Mr Lowe left school at 13 and says the course is based on principles he learnt during his coaching career.

"They've got to have something to look forward to so they've got to understand what is a winning team, what is a good family, what is respect."

Mr Lowe is hopeful empowering the inmates will mean they're less likely to offend.

He's now looking to roll out the course to other prisons in the country.