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Prisons: Education

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment his Department has made of the value of courses on enhanced thinking skills for convicted prisoners. (157711)

In 2004 RDS commissioned a qualitative study to examine programme experience of prisoners completing cognitive skills training (Clarke et al. 2004). Both prisoners and staff reported short term benefits for prisoners such as improved prisoner behaviour; increased self-confidence; enhanced literacy skills and better interpersonal skills. Completion of cognitive skills also helped to prepared prisoners for other offending behaviour programmes.

A randomised control trial of ETS, commissioned by Research, Development and Statistics—National Offender Management Service (RDS NOMS) will be published in December 2007. This will robustly evaluate the immediate impact of ETS on interim measures of thinking and prison behaviour. The current RDS NOMS programme also includes further research on the effectiveness of other Offending Behaviour Programmes based on rigorous research designs.