The Government Minister for Further Education and Skills today announced a wide-ranging review of learning for offenders in prisons and in the community.
During a visit to HMP Wandsworth, Education Minister John Hayes emphasised the Government’s commitment to reducing reoffending through positive interventions with offenders, prisons and the wider public
The Government’s review will complement the autumn consultation announced last month by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, into reforming the justice system.
Mr Hayes said: “In this country crime costs us around £60bn a year, a truly staggering figure. And we know that over £9bn of that is the result of reoffending.
“This is clearly wrong and we need to focus on protecting the public from the costs and effects of crime. With effective and relevant courses, ex-offenders will be better able to find work and so be less of a concern to the wider community and more of an asset to the economy.
“But we must also have value for money. The review I am undertaking will look at current courses and where they can be better tailored to social needs. Effective education is, and always will be, key to reform of the justice system.”
Commercial recycler and social welfare charity Recycling Lives provides a unique solution to transform ex-offenders into hardworking, contributing individuals, with a strong work ethic and desire for community involvement; through a personalised educational, training and work experience programme.
Recycling Lives has demonstrated that its business model works; 100 per cent of the individuals facing an uncertain future, who have completed the Recycling Lives programme, have successfully achieved full time employment and independent living.
The Northwest Consortium for the National Offenders Management System (NOMS) CFO Achieve Project was so impressed with the consistent results of Recycling Lives; they have awarded the business an exclusive contract.
The Lancashire cohort will see 50 ex-offenders re-trained, prepared and assisted into full time employment over the next two years, with another 250 ex-offenders prepared for work elsewhere.
Recycling Lives Founder and Chairman Steven Jackson said: “Recycling Lives is a business model with proven results that can address key government objectives.
“Recycling Lives can help ex-offenders, presenting a low risk to society, by providing the training, education and work experience needed for an individual to be successful in the working world and be able to break the constant cycle of welfare dependency, worklessness and circumstances that often trigger re-offending.”
Recycling Lives is currently working on deploying a national and international development programme that hopes to see 50 Recycling Lives Centres built across the UK in the next five years.
Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt MP said: “I welcome this review into offender learning. Prisons are places of punishment but they should also be places of education, work and training.
“Education leading to employment has a key role in helping to reduce re-offending, protecting the public and preventing people from becoming the victims of tomorrow.
“Finding a job is essential to breaking the cycle of crime that exists within families, providing positive role models to younger generations.
“The review will involve all those within government who are involved in offender learning, as well as charity and voluntary organisations. It will report back in the autumn as part of wider plans for reform and cost-saving across the sector.”