Prisoners receive post-release employment boost
By Daniel Hunter
Prisoners will receive a boost to their chances of finding employment after their release, with intensive ‘military style’ maths and English classes, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced today (Thursday).
The pilot will be carried out in six prisons in the North West, and will be based on the successful approach used for training new recruits in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
An example of an Army intensive programme consists of 35 hours of lessons in a one week block but with additional training for those who need it. The teaching makes literacy and numeracy relevant to the recruits’ day-to-day work and has been shown to boost their confidence and career progression, including those who had poor experiences of learning at school.
Skills Minister John Hayes, following an examination of the Armed Forces scheme, ordered that it be adapted to the prison environment - for example, by making lessons a compulsory part of popular courses like construction, and painting and decorating.
John Hayes said:
"This pilot is about ensuring prisoners are more likely to work than commit crime when they leave."
The programme will show offenders how important basic skills are when trying to get a job and stay in work. It will be taught at the start of their sentences so their studies are less likely to be disrupted.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said:
“Crime blights lives, both for the offender and the victim. That is why we are piloting this programme in prisons, so we can give prisoners the basic skills they need to get their lives on track and bring down re-offending rates.
“This shorter but more intensive approach means that it is less likely that their studies will be disrupted and by linking lessons to other vocational courses, prisoners are more likely to attain the skills that are... continued on page two >