Prisoners' Work

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 15th February 2011.

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Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Conservative, Kingswood 2:30 pm, 15th February 2011

What plans he has to increase the amount of work carried out by prisoners.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

We have set out our intention to make prisons places of work and industry in the Green Paper published on 7 December 2010, and our response to the consultation will be published in May this year. Achieving a significant increase in useful work, which is also economically positive for the Prison Service, victims and rehabilitation, is a high priority for this Government.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Conservative, Kingswood

Does the Minister agree that we need to get more prisoners working so that when they are released, they are more likely to get back into employment? How many hours does he suggest prisoners should spend working each week?

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice) (Prisons and Probation)

We would like get to a position where prisoners work an ordinary working week of 40 hours. No one should underestimate the difficulty of making that a reality across the entire prison estate, as prisons have different purposes and a different physical geography in each case. I am absolutely determined, however, to use all our endeavours to maximise the amount of productive work done in prisons. That is why I have said that this is a first-order priority, certainly for this Prisons Minister.