HMP Lewes

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 11:35 am on 25th April 2017.

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Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield Conservative, Lewes 11:35 am, 25th April 2017

What improvements there have been at HMP Lewes since that prison was placed in special measures.

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

A new governor was appointed in January 2017 and is developing an action plan in response to the issues in Lewes prison.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield Conservative, Lewes

I thank the Minister for his reply. Could he set out how the Government’s prison reform will help HMP Lewes—particularly prisoners who are trying to stop reoffending, and the prison officers, who do a difficult job?

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

A key part of our reform programme is adding 2,500 staff to our Prison Service. As far as HMP Lewes is concerned, we have made 24 job offers for additional prison officers since November. Starting pay at HMP Lewes is now £26,500, and along with more prison officers, that will enable the prison to support and challenge prisoners to turn their lives around.

Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire

Prisoners in Lewes, as elsewhere, will reoffend less if they get sustainable work. Many private sector employers are rising to the challenge of providing ex-offenders with work. Will the Minister give us an update on what is happening across the wider public sector so that it can lead by example?

Photo of Sam Gyimah Sam Gyimah The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Employment in prisons, but also preparing prisoners for employment on release, is vital if we are to stop reoffending. The New Futures Network, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has launched, will work with a range of organisations, including public sector organisations, to help create employment opportunities for prisoners.