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Prisoners: Mentoring

Volume 470: debated on Monday 7 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans the Government have to expand the role of mentoring in helping prisoners develop employable skills. (175467)

In December 2006, the Government set out in the document ‘Reducing Re-offending through Skills and Employment: Next Steps’ their plans for improving the skills and employment outcomes for all offenders in custody and in the community. A key element of this plan involves engaging employers to work with offenders and ex-offenders. Many employers offer training programmes which not only teach vocational skills but also involve mentoring in order to develop softer skills and improve employability. These softer skills include job searching, CV preparation, interview techniques and customer service.

Mentoring is also a vital service offered by voluntary and community sector organisations. There are several projects running across the country where these organisations work in partnership with Probation Boards, the Prison Service and the regional government offices to remove barriers to employment for offenders, including via mentoring on release from custody.

The Government's aim is to facilitate the sharing of good practice and lessons learnt from all the above examples of mentoring to encourage further and wider use of the methods which are proven to work best in improving skills and employability of offenders.