“We very much welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to reforming our out-dated prison system which is currently failing victims, communities and offenders. Reoffending rates are too high and it is right to reconsider how the system can work better to ensure individuals make a positive contribution to society on release.
“There are lots of individual staff, charities and organisations working hard in prisons to improve outcomes and to help people to move on. Yet, this work is often disjointed, unable to prioritise need and tailor support in order to help people move on from crime.
“Nacro has been delivering education in hard-to-reach communities for almost 50 years and are pleased that government wants to put education at the forefront of prison life. However, for education to be effective in custody, it needs to respond to complex individual need and experiences. It must adopt a consistent approach so that when people move around the system their education and training isn’t hampered. It must connect to courses available in the community so people can continue progress after prison. And, it must offer real, tangible work opportunities that lead to jobs on release.
“Reforming the prison system will not be easy. Individuals often have multiple and complex problems, and too many revolve in and out of custody throughout their adult life. Governors are the right people to respond to problems in their prison. However, they cannot solve entrenched challenges alone.
“Real reform needs to address overcrowding and an ageing estate. It needs to connect prison to the community, restoring relationships between offenders and the places that they live, so that, on release, prisoners can be better prepared to manage problems, reconnect with family, work and support to move on from crime for good. The voluntary sector has an important role to play here. It can and should be at the forefront in helping shape the system and bringing about positive change.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates a step change in prison policy and it is a real opportunity to change people’s lives, reduce the number of victims and make communities safer.”