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Prisoners (Long-Term Sentences)

Volume 887: debated on Thursday 6 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will prepare schemes for rehabilitation for the increasing proportion of prisoners serving long-term sentences.

Special attention is being given to improving opportunities for long-term prisoners to rehabilitate themselves.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the problem of the long-term prisoner is an increasing one and a serious one? Does he agree with the Howard League and others that there is an urgent need for research into the effects that long sentences have on prisoners? Further, does he agree that any proper rehabilitation scheme must include a greater commitment of resources towards the training of prison staff for both pre-service and in-service training?

Yes. Efforts are being made on the lines that my hon. Friend has indicated. In particular, individual plans for each prisoner are being drawn up. A programme covering work, education, welfare and preparation for realease is being drawn up for each of them.

What evidence has the Minister that there is an increase in retraining for industry, so that the men who are coming out from long-term sentences have some opportunity of getting into industry? Is that being done prison by prison?

The scope of vocational training is being widened so that the type of work available is far greater. There is also the pre-release employment scheme, under which, before release, selected prisoners go out daily to work in the community at normal rates of pay.