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We know that prisoners who are in employment before or after custody are less likely to reoffend, yet many offenders have little or no employment experience or marketable skills. We are currently looking at the work, training and education in prison to ensure that provision prepares prisoners to enter meaningful employment on release so that they are able to make an effective contribution towards society and break the cycle of re-offending.
In 2015/16, on average 11,000 prisoners and detainees were working in custody at any one time across public sector prisons, contracted-out prisons and Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs). They delivered 16 million hours of work during the course of the year. These figures relate solely to industrial work, which is defined as work carried out in prison workshops (normally on the internal market, commercial work or for other government departments). There are also significant numbers of prisoners in other learning, vocational training or work opportunities within prison on tasks such as cooking, serving meals, maintenance and cleaning which can help them find a job on release and support their rehabilitation. The figures also exclude work placements undertaken by offenders on release from prison on temporary licence.
The latest statistics relating to offender participation in education are published and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/further-education-and-skills-january-2017
Further data relating to offender education participation can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fe-data-library-further-education-and-skills
We currently do not record the proportion of prisoners in employment. As set out in the Prison Safety and Reform White Paper, we will be measuring prisons against the progress made in maths and English as well as the rate of prisoners in employment and apprenticeships on release. We envisage that these measures will be introduced in 2017.
Ensuring that offenders gain the skills and qualifications inside prison to enable them to get jobs outside prison is a key part of our reform plans and we intend to launch an employment strategy later this year.