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Prisoners: Disabled

Volume 475: debated on Friday 9 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what requirements there are for (a) diversity and (b) disability training for prison officers; and what the (i) duration and (ii) frequency of the training programmes is. (199676)

Prisons and HQ groups decide what training their staff should receive within the parameters of legal requirements and the Prison Service commitment to training and developing staff. There is a variety of training, of varying duration, available to staff and managers and the overall theme of diversity, including race and disability issues, is threaded through aspects of Prison Service learning and development.

Though embedded in training courses, diversity is specifically addressed in first line manager training as part of the Introductory Certificate in Management, and in both Operational Manager (Excellence in Management and Leadership in the Prison—EMALPS) and Senior Operational Manager (Leadership Excellence and Performance in Prisons—LEAPP) programmes. The full range of the diversity strands is also included in the Intensive Development Scheme (IDS) induction programme.

Training for newly recruited prison officers begins with an eight week Prison Officer Entry Level Training (POELT) course. Diversity issues are threaded throughout the POELT course but there are two specific four hour sessions to address knowledge of diversity issues including disability, race, age and gender.

Within the private sector, individual contractors are responsible for training their staff in line with current legislation specified in the contract. Arrangements are in place in all private sector prisons for Prison Custody Officers to receive diversity training.