Inadequate post-prison resettlement "appalling waste"

4 Oct 2016

Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET) is appalled by the state of the resettlement services for short-term prisoners as reflected by the joint report by HM Chief Inspectors of Probation and Prisons published today (Tuesday 4 October).

The report looks at the impact of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme, in which prisoners sentenced to less than 12 months are supervised for the first year after release to help them engage with rehabilitation.

The report found not enough is being done to help prisoners prepare for release or to manage risks once they are back in the community. None of the 86 prisoners whose progress was monitored were assisted into employment or training after leaving custody. The Community Rehabilitation Companies that were inspected did not promote links to local colleges or education providers, and did not attempt to find out what education individuals had engaged with in custody.

Nina Champion, Head of Policy at PET, says:

“The report paints an alarming picture of a resettlement system that is not fit for purpose. This disjointed and ineffective way of dealing with people on short sentences after they leave custody is ruining chances of rehabilitation and risking public safety in the process.

“We know that engaging in education or finding a job is one of the best ways to ensure someone stays away from crime, and yet the inspection did not find a single person who had been supported to do these things.

“During their time in custody a person might learn to read, gain vocational skills and develop aspirations for further training or work. The inspection reveals that key information about the learning a prisoner has done in custody is not being passed on and essential links to colleges in the community were not being made.

“The crucial investment in prison education is an appalling waste if there is inadequate support after sentences are over to effectively build on it and secure positive outcomes.”

“At a time when the government has recognised the critical need to reform our jails, this is an urgent reminder that reform cannot be limited to what goes on behind prison walls. We call on the new Justice Secretary to lead a whole-system approach to rehabilitation."

1.       Prisoners’ Education Trust provides advice and funding for over 2,200 people per year for distance learning courses in subjects and levels not generally available in prisons. PET also carries out research, informed by prisoner learners, to improve prison education policies.

2.       A copy of the report can be found on Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation’s website from Tuesday 4 October at:http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprobation/

3.       Further interviews and comment available on request. Contact Katy Oglethorpe on 0791 2161 536