Ministry of Justice response to Prison White Paper consultation signals positive intent for prison education
Novus Managing Director Peter Cox welcomes the MoJ response to the Prisons White Paper consultation as a commitment to equipping offenders with the training and skills required to help them secure employment on release.
Last week, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) published its response to the Prison White Paper consultation which was held following the publication of the report in December 2021.
During the consultation the MoJ sought the views of a broad range of stakeholders including from prisoners and staff and organisations working in or involved with prisons, receiving 155 responses on a range of issues.
In its response to the consultation findings the MoJ reaffirmed its commitment to an ‘ambitious delivery plan’ for the prison sector and provided positive signals around its intentions for the prison education sector. This included:
- The creation of employment hubs to give prisoners the best chance to be ready for employment upon release, connected to the skills and training they receive while serving their sentence
- A recognition of the need to ‘frame education around core skills for modern workplaces and to be tailored to the needs of the prison population’
- New guidance from the MoJ to prison governors to ‘support them to identify the best curriculum for their prison population’. The consultation response also recognises the need for ‘prisoners have a prompt education assessment and screening to identify additional learning support needs’
- Plans for improving literacy and employability committing to the provision of ‘innovation funds to ensure that prisoners have the skills needed to secure jobs on release’. This include a commitment to ‘recruiting specialists to support prisoners with additional learning needs as well as 17 education specialists’
- Greater digitalisation of the estate as a whole but including greater digital access for prisoners to access education and training programmes.
Commenting on the response, Novus Managing Director Peter Cox said: “The MoJ’s response to the consultation signalled some significant positive intent for the provision of education, skills and training within prisons. It is particularly encouraging to see a commitment to digital enablement, putting in place a differentiated approach that supports learner needs and the focus on employability and future job outcomes.
“To fully realise these ambitions, it will be vital that the MoJ provides the necessary support to link the prison education provision with local skills improvement plans to maximise the opportunities that are available to prisoners on release and provide alignment with the levelling up agenda so that prisoners are being equipped with the skills that will drive economic growth and meet the needs of employers.”