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. Read more “Prison Education in Wales report”
Last July the Prisons minister stated that jamming technology was vital for stopping the use of drones to smuggle items in and out of prison. The minister has had 5 months to work on the roll-out of this technology so I thought it was fair to ask how many prisons have this technology.
The answer I got was “not that many prisons”. The minister wants to learn from Guernsey prison to see how we roll this technology across the estate. The minister has had some time now to implement this and each day it is not in place the risk of phones, drugs and weapons being smuggled into our prisons increases.
Earlier this year the privately run HMP Birmingham collapsed to such an extent that the UK Government had to nationalise it. Standards had slipped to completely unacceptable levels with prison officers and offenders safety being put at risk.
It is a prison that has experienced riots in the past and it was an utter failure of G4S to ensure they fulfilled their contractual agreements.
During the Justice Select Committee I was able to press the representative from G4S on what actions he had taken in the run up to the collapse of the prison and why he didn’t act sooner.
Committees give MPs a chance to scrutinise, in-depth, the UK Government’s policies away from the more political arena of the House of Commons chamber. This week’s Justice Committee was a perfect example of this.
We had officials from HM Prisons and Probation and the Ministry of Justice in front of us which gave us the opportunity to delve deep into the policies they were enacting on behalf of the UK Government. I wanted to know what action was being done to measure prison standards. It was disappointing to hear that currently officials do not believe that the estate is good.