Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Government unveils offender learning reforms to get prisoners into jobs and out of crime

Government unveils offender learning reforms to get prisoners into jobs and out of crime

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 18 May 2011

The Government has launched a report outlining radical plans to break the cycle of reoffending, by developing a stronger link between learning in prisons and the vocational and employability skills that employers demand.

Under the reforms to the adult offender education system in England, there will be greater emphasis on the results that education and training in prison delivers.

The way learning is delivered in prisons will also be overhauled to better reflect the way the prison system is organised and improve value for money.

Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister John Hayes said:

“Our goal is to make sure offenders understand there are viable alternatives to criminality. Rehabilitation through education works best when there is a strong link to meaningful work.

“I want to ensure that, for as many ex-offenders as possible, release is not followed by re-arrest, but by employment and re-integration into law-abiding society.

”We have ensured these reforms offer good value for the tax payer: money will go where it is most needed and will do most good.”

Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt said:

“Previous investment in offender learning lacked adequate links with employment outcomes on release from prison and was commissioned too remotely from the prisons in which the training is delivered.

“This review will ensure that learning supports work in prison and employment on release, both of which are key elements of our efforts to rehabilitate offenders. The wider package of reforms will be set out shortly in our response to the Green Paper consultation on ‘Breaking the Cycle: Punishment, Rehabilitation & Sentencing of Offenders’.”

Making Prisons Work: Skills for Rehabilitation sets out the Government’s commitment to:

Increase the range and relevance of learning, focussing on the skills employers need.

Support more work opportunities in prison.

Improve links with employers, ensuring where possible a relationship with employers has been established before release.

Boost activity to prepare prisoners for apprenticeship opportunities on release.

Focus learning delivery towards the end of prisoners’ sentences – linking it directly to needs in the labour market on release.

Reshape careers advice provided in custody.

Trial outcome incentive payments – giving colleges and training providers a greater stake in delivering learning successfully.

Restructure the delivery of offender learning around the clusters of prisons within which prisoners normally move – bringing more coherence to the system.

The review, carried out by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), was launched by Skills Minister John Hayes at the Association of Colleges Offender Learning conference this morning.

Notes to editors:

For a full copy of the Making Prisons Work: Skills for Rehabilitation visit

The offender learning review was announced at HMP Wandsworth by John Hayes, Minister for Further Education, Skills & Lifelong Learning in July 2010.

BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

For more details on the Green Paper consultation on Breaking the Cycle: Punishment, Rehabilitation & Sentencing of Offenders contact the Ministry of Justice press office on 020 3334 3536.


BIS Press Office

Katie Kilgallen
Phone: 020 7215 1861