Prisoners: Working Hours

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 8th July 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing 40 hours a week of work for prisoners.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Our aim is to, where appropriate, have as many prisoners as possible in a position to work both in custody and while on temporary release, to better prepare them for transition into the work place.

Prison should provide offenders with the tools they need for successful rehabilitation, including work opportunities that prepare them for employment on release. For some prisoners however, other interventions such as education or health support will need to take priority over working.

Prison Rules 1999 state that a convicted prisoner is required to do useful work for not more than 10 hours a day. In the year ending 2018, around 12,300 prisoners and detainees were working in custody at any one time. In addition to this, in the 12 months to March 2018, 2,224 risk-assessed prisoners were working in the community on ROTL. The number of hours worked by prisoners and detainees increased by 8% in the year to March 2018 with 17.2 million hours of work delivered in that year.

Recognising the value of instilling a strong work ethic in prisoners and the positive impact that employment has on rates of reoffending, we have established the New Futures Network. The New Futures Network brokers partnerships between prisons and employers to improve employment outcomes for individuals whilst in prison and on release.

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