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Vocational Training: Prisoners

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what skills audits have been carried out on prisoners since 1992; and if he will make a statement. (191212)

[holding answer 3 March 2008]: Prison Service Order 0550 requires that every prisoner’s literacy, numeracy and skills needs are assessed as part of the induction programme put in place soon after entering custody. The results of this assessment inform the offender management process and contribute to the fuller assessment of learning needs to inform an individual learning plan. In public prisons, that fuller assessment is carried out by the provider appointed by the Learning and Skills Council.

The offender learning and skills delivery arrangements aim to develop a learning plan that is personalised to the needs of the individual learner, subject to the constraints imposed by the secure environment. The focus of the arrangements is on the individual and there has been no general audit of the skills needs of prisoners since my Department took responsibility for the policy in 2001, although the Social Exclusion Unit’s 2002 report ‘Reducing Re-offending by Ex-Prisoners’ drew together a number of data sources to produce an overview of the skills needs of offenders.