The government recently announced plans to improve the reform and rehabilitation of offenders serving a custodial sentence. Six new prisons are to be built, all of which will have an emphasis on education, safety and addiction support.
Plans To Improve Rehabilitation
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The Prisons Strategy White Paper
The government’s proposals have been set out in “The Prisons Strategy White Paper”. The 10-year plan will cost over £4bn, create an extra 20,000 prison places and see six new prisons built over the next five years. These are being touted as a new generation of prisons, where innovative technology will support prisoner education. Other key measures will also be introduced, including a zero tolerance to drugs and work-related opportunities. It is hoped this will reduce reoffending and better protect the public.
The key measures are as follows:
Zero tolerance to drugs
Airport-style security will be set up to prevent drugs, weapons and phones from being smuggled into prisons. The new prisons will have enhanced gate security, body scanners and biometric visitor information. This is all part of a zero-tolerance attitude to drugs.
Prisoners will be assessed for drug addiction and mental health issues. A range of treatments will be available for those identified as suffering from addiction. This includes tailored support for pregnant prisoners.
A Prisoner Education Service will be set up to ensure all prisoners achieve a basic level of numeracy and literacy. In-cell technology will allow prisoners to learn while in their cells. Other qualifications will also be available, such as driving theory tests.
Ligature resistant cells will be built to protect vulnerable prisoners. Staff will also wear body cameras where appropriate.
Efforts are to be made to ensure prisoners are ready to work following their release from prison. Prisoners should enjoy opportunities for work-related activities. Where appropriate, prisoners should be released on licence to work inside and outside the prison.
Prisoners often struggle to gain employment following their release as they do not have the necessary documents. To overcome this, resettlement passports will be introduced. This will ensure a prisoner has identification, a CV and a bank account ready for their release.
Other measures have also been proposed, such as:
- Recruiting an extra 5,000 prison officers
- A reward scheme for good discipline
- Sanctions for rule breaking
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