My report into prison education in Wales has been published today (21 March 2019) and makes key recommendations on how outcomes can be improved for offenders in Wales.
I was requested by the former Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Baroness Eluned Morgan AM, to undertake a review in August 2018 into prison education in Wales.
The recommendations contained within the report are predominantly directed at the Welsh Government and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), but other public-sector bodies and privately-run prisons can take note of these recommendations to improve education within our prisons.
The report made recommendations on the following topics:
• Accountability Structures;
• Inclusivity with Stakeholders;
• Social Clauses: The Welsh Government’s Employment Power
• Through the Gate Services;
• Female Offender Education; and
• Digital Infrastructure.
To conduct the review, I visited prisons in Wales and England to ensure that he had an informed view of the opportunity and risks facing prison education. I also held two roundtables in North and South Wales with key stakeholders to understand what help and support they need to do their job of supporting offenders.
As a former Minister of State for Prisons and currently a member of the House of Commons Justice Select Committee, I was fully aware of the opportunities and threats facing our prisons when providing educational services to offenders. I was a honour to undertake this review for the Welsh Government and I look forward to their progress update in six months’ time.
In my opening remarks of the Report I noted how prison is, rightly, a severe punishment for any individual, but it also has the important function of rehabilitation. Education remains the silver bullet for curing society’s ills and if we do not take action to ensure that it is properly administered then we will be unable to reduce reoffending rates.
In total I made 22 recommendations to the Welsh Government and HMPPS. I very much hope that all these recommendations will be adopted and hope that when implemented we will see a reduction in reoffending in Wales.
You can read my report in full here.