Prisoners: Rehabilitation

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 23rd July 2021.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will commit to developing a rehabilitation strategy for male prisoners that is in line with the Female Offender Strategy.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Evidence shows that a gender-specific approach for women is the most effective way to address the often multiple and complex issues that underly women’s offending behaviour. That is why we launched the Female Offender Strategy in 2018 to improve outcomes for women at all points of the justice system by taking a gender and trauma informed approach.

A wide range of work is underway to help rehabilitate both male and female offenders. We know that having somewhere to live, a job, a healthy lifestyle and helping the individual address their underlying and often complex needs are essential to reducing their likelihood of reoffending. This enables them to make a positive contribution to society.

That is why we are strengthening rehabilitation in prisons by creating a Prisoner Education Service focussed on work-based training and skills to improve employment outcomes for offenders on release. The HMPPS New Futures Network also continues to broker partnerships between prisons and employers, which can result in work opportunities for serving prisoners, through prison industries workshops and workplace Release on Temporary Licence. We are also improving employment outcomes by increasing the number of DWP Prison Work Coaches across the estate, which means that prior to release, prisoners can access advice and support on employment and benefits.

In January, this Government announced a £70 million package on tackling some of the key drivers of reoffending, and £80 million on expanding drug treatment services in England to address offenders’ substance misuse issues, divert them on to effective community sentences and reduce drug-related crime and deaths. The £70 million package includes launching transitional accommodation for those leaving prison who would otherwise be homeless in five probation regions and working collaboratively with 16 prisons to test new innovative approaches to ensure offenders resettle back into the community and turn their backs on crime.

On the 26 June we successfully implemented our reforms to create a unified Probation Service. We have retained a key role for the private and voluntary sectors by awarding contracts worth nearly £200m over the next 3 years to a range of organisations to deliver vital rehabilitative services such as accommodation support, education, training and employment, and support to address other issues such as access to mental health services and additional support to meet the specific needs of female offenders.

We are committed to providing all offenders with an opportunity to turn their backs on crime. However, this is not something the Ministry of Justice can do in isolation, it needs to be a combined effort across government and local partners in order to make a significant and lasting change. That is why we are leading work across Government to address the complex issues that increase the likelihood of reoffending when a prisoner is released. There are no plans to develop a distinct rehabilitation strategy for male prisoners.

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