Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 24th January 2023.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prison libraries have been operating across the prison estate in each year since 2005; and what percentage of the prison population has had access to a prison library service in each year since 2005.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what education provision has been in place in each prison to support the literacy of prisoners in each year since 2005; how many hours on average each prisoner has been allowed to spend in a prison library in each year since 2005; and how many and what proportion of prisoners have been engaged in literacy programmes in each year since 2005.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prisons have provided specialist support for prisoners with dyslexia in each year since 2005; and how many and what proportion of prisoners have had a literacy assessment in each year since 2005.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of prisoners have been recorded as having dyslexia in each year since 2005; what steps his Department is taking to help identify prisoners with dyslexia; and what steps he is taking to support prisoners with dyslexia.
All prisons are required to have a library and prisoners are routinely offered a minimum of 30 minutes library access a week. We do not currently collect data on prisoner attendance and engagement with the library.
All prisons also offer literacy education as part of their core curriculum. Most education services are outsourced to education specialists (for example Further Education Colleges) and supplemented by bespoke partnership arrangements with third sector organisations who support the teaching of reading. HMPPS are also working to embed literacy skills in workshops and vocational training.
Reliable data from 2005-19 is not available due to changes in the way education provision has been contracted and provided although, since 2019, all prisoners have been screened for literacy, numeracy and Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LDD) on entry. Prisons provide a range of support according to the needs of the individual and our main education providers are required to put in place provision for prisoners with additional learning needs such as dyslexia.
This table sets out the number of prisoners participating in English functional skills, taking English assessments and prisoners identified as likely to have LDD since 2019 under the current MoJ commissioned contracts. 2020-22 participation figures have been impacted by the reduction in classroom learning during the pandemic, but we are now building back to pre-pandemic levels of learning. Statistics for 2022-23 will be published later this year. Due to the dynamic nature of the prison population, it is also not possible to provide a percentage proportion of prisoners participating.
Number of prisoners participating in functional skills English courses
Number of prisoners who have had an initial assessment in English
Prisoners participating in English and Maths Initial Assessments that have been identified as likely to have LDD
1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020
1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021*
1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022*
 Levels of learning during April 2020-March 2022 were greatly impacted by the reduction in classroom learning necessary for mitigating the health impacts of the Covid pandemic
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