Employment and Education: Reoffending Reduction

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th October 2018.

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Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk 12:00 am, 9th October 2018

What assessment he has made of the role of employment and education in reducing rates of reoffending.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Prison education is key to achieving better outcomes for offenders and has been proven to reduce reoffending by approximately 9% and increase P45 employment by 1.8%. We are empowering governors, who will be given the budget and controls to tailor education provision in their prisons, to both better engage their prisoners and meet their specific learning and employment needs. On 17 September, we launched a new innovative commissioning portal, which will give governors direct access to a huge range of learning and skills providers, including local educators and employers.

Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. Does he agree that in some cases, self-employment—for example, as a sole trader—may be appropriate? Can he set out whether those new support measures will include mentoring for offenders who want to start a business when they leave prison?

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

My hon. Friend raises an important point. A lot of ex-offenders who go on to work currently do so in self-employment, and that will continue to be the case, so encouragement and support down that route has to be part of what we do to encourage employment.

Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

The Secretary of State will know that most veterans make a successful transition from the armed forces into civilian life, but inevitably some will end up in the criminal justice system. Will he say what work is taking place to support veterans with employment and training, not only to reduce reoffending but, frankly, to ensure that they do not end up living on the streets?

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

The hon. Gentleman makes a very good point. He will know that there is a strong voluntary sector that provides a huge amount of support. I pay tribute to the work that many of those charities do. We work closely with them because it is particularly important, for those who have served their country, that we do not them down subsequently.