PET’s response to the Prisons Strategy White Paper

Home > PET’s response to the Prisons Strategy White Paper

07 December 2021

Responding to the Prisons Strategy White Paper published today, Jon Collins, Chief Executive of Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET), said:

“PET welcomes the new investment and the focus on getting people leaving prison into jobs contained in the Prisons Strategy White Paper, published today. But education is the key building block that enables prison leavers to secure employment and urgently needs more funding.

“There are already some brilliant projects working in prison that help to get jobs for prison leavers, and the government’s work to engage employers is positive. But the number of people leaving prison with a job remains low: currently only 7% of men leaving prison and 4% of women have a job six weeks later. Radical change and a real focus on education is needed if this is going to change.

“Prison education departments already provide the basic literacy, numeracy and vocational skills promised in today’s White Paper. But many prisoners have poor prior experiences of education and cannot engage in the three-hour lessons on offer. And many prisoners cannot even get to education departments – usually because there are not enough officers to take them to classrooms.

“Plans to roll out secure digital technology need to go further and faster. People leaving prison without essential digital skills are locked out of the job market. If the government is serious about rehabilitation, they must put in-cell technology in place in every prison, new and old.

“Without significant investment in teachers, technology, equipment and the physical environment, and without more prison officers around, prison education will not improve. If the government wants to succeed in its ambition to significantly boost the employment opportunities of prison leavers, the first step must be to get prison education right.”

About Prisoners’ Education Trust (PET):

At PET, we believe that education has the power to change the lives of people in prison, and that everyone should have the chance to study while there.

Working with prisons across England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, we fund courses in levels and subjects that are otherwise unavailable; support people to choose courses and progress with their learning; and champion the life-changing power of education to prisons, policymakers and the public.

We offer over 120 different distance learning courses, from business start-up to creative writing, GCSEs and A-levels, Open University Access modules, and everything in between. We help around 1,500 people each year to start their studies, equipping them with the skills and qualifications to build brighter futures.

For further information about PET, please contact Calum Walker, Media and Communications Manager, on 07824 189661 or email

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