Prisons in Parliament – 21 September

Education, reoffending and dental hygiene: some teething topics up for debate

Parly pic

Prisons in Parliament is back! Bringing you up-to-date on the last week of politics and prisons. What’s been said? And by whom? Find out here…


Education, Education, Education

What can be done to improve education in prisons? New report will ask. Source:

What steps are being taken to improve education in prison? At present one in five prisons have an inadequate standard of education provision, and another two fifths require improvement.

Michael Gove told the Commons last week that:

“Improving the education of prisoners is key to rehabilitation”.

Helen Jones of Warrington North (Labour), pointed out that:

“Classes are frequently cancelled and that wings are closed and locked down because of the shortage of prison officers”.

Jenny Chapman of Darlington (Labour) said that without addressing drugs and understaffing, education could not be improved.

“Ofsted says that outstanding learning cannot possibly be provided in prisons that are dangerous, violent and not safe.”


In context

Dame Sally Coates will chair a review into the quality of education in prisons. The review will report in March 2016.



Reoffending rates come under scrutiny

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The Clink – rehabilitation through hospitality training. Source: The Clink

Education is indeed one of the best ways to cut reoffending, Imrain Hussain of Bradford East (Labour) asked what other steps were being taken to reduce reoffending by 18 to 25 year olds.


Prisons Minister, Andrew Selous replied:

“We are committed to doing more to support young adult offenders whilst they are in prison and in the community to enable them to make an effective contribution to society and to reduce the likelihood of their re-offending”

Adding that we need more initiatives to engage prisoners in education.


In context

Here are just some of the best education and employment initiatives:

The Timpson academies – workshops inside Liverpool, Wandsworth, and New Hall prisons train up to 35 apprentices at a time and have led to over 40 jobs in the last two years.

The Halfords academy –  Provides mechanic training inside Onley Prison near Rugby, training prisoners to be professional cycle mechanics.

The Clink restaurants – Found in London, Wales, Cheshire and Surrey, the restaurants provide hospitality training with the sole aim of reducing reoffending rates of ex-offenders. See the Autumn menu here.

Census Data Group – A call centre was set up last year at HMP High Down Prison in Surrey with the aim of providing prisoners with real work opportunities.



What’s all the floss about? Dental hygiene of course.

How long do you have to wait to see a dentist in prison? Source; Markus Gosselbar

Alan Duncan Rutland and Melton (Conservative) asked what the average waiting time is for a prisoner to see a dentist.

Ben Gummer  The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, said although data was not available, a report out last year found that:

“Approximately 55% of prisoners needing dental treatment following examination were seen within four weeks”

Find the full report attached here.

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