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Justice Questions: Prison Rehabilitation

During Justice Questions, yesterday, I asked the new Prisons Minister what the Government is doing to ensure that Prison Governors are judged on their ability to rehabilitate prisoners on short-term sentences and placing them into employment.

I believe it is vitally important that we can rehabilitate our short-term prison population. These are usually people who are serving sentences under 9 months in length. Ensuring that they have the skills needed to gain employment makes sure that their chances or re-offending are dramatically reduced as they have a stable and legitimate income. Moreover, it helps ex-offenders reintegrate with society. Having a job means that you become part of a community. Therefore you have a vested interest that that community thrives, something that crime or criminal activity runs counter to.

The Minister said reassuring words. He agrees with me how important it is to rehabilitate ex-offenders to make our neighbourhoods safer. He also agrees with me that helping prisoners restart their lives unlocks their potential and is a positive for all of society. However, I was concerned that the Minister was unable to answer my question as to how the Prison Governors will be judged on their success or failure. Offenders with different custodial sentences, be it short-term or long-term, cannot all be measured the same way. Without clear perimeters, as laid out by the Government, as to what constitutes success or failure on behalf of Governors we will find it extremely difficult to improve the rehabilitation that our prisons offer.

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