Truss White Paper welcome answer to "chronic underinvestment" in prisons, but attention to more than basic skills needed

3 Nov 2016

Prisoners’ Education Trust has issued the following response to the Prison Safety and Reform White Paper, to be announced by Justice Secretary Liz Truss on 3 November.

Rod Clark, PET's Chief Executive, says: 

“The White Paper shows a Justice Secretary who recognises the need for urgent action to stem the alarming deterioration of safety inside our prisons. We welcome her promise of increased funds and staff members. 

“Chronic underinvestment in prisons has not only made them unsafe places, but has contributed to more crime. While someone is in prison they should have the chance to learn, to rehabilitate and to develop new aspirations, ultimately allowing them to contribute to their communities. For this to happen, a safe environment is essential.

“We welcome Truss’s emphasis on the value of education in prison, including developing basic skills. But in today’s economy, gaining meaningful employment depends on more than just the ability to read and write. If the government is serious about lowering reoffending, it needs to equip people in prison with the attitudes and aspirations, as well as the skills, to build crime-free futures.”

Notes to editors:

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.            Interviews are available with CEO Rod Clarke, Head of Policy Nina Champion, as well as former prisoners. Please contact Katy Oglethorpe – 0791 2161 536 to request this.