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Prisoners: Employment

Volume 475: debated on Friday 9 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners were (a) employed, (b) unemployed, (c) on short-term sick leave, (d) on long-term sick leave, (e) retired and (f) on maternity leave at the latest date for which information is available. (203702)

Information on the employment related activities of prisoners is not collected centrally.

A 2003 resettlement survey of a representative sample of 1,945 British national sentenced prisoners aged 18 and above showed that 32 per cent. of prisoners were in employment, training or education in the four weeks before custody. The proportions varied according to prisoner groups: adult men 34 per cent., women 14 per cent., young offenders 41 per cent. Of these in employment, 65 per cent. were in permanent jobs, 25 per cent. temporary and 9 per cent. under a fixed contract.

14 per cent. of prisoners in the survey said they had never had a paid job before custody (11 per cent. of adult men; 26 per cent. of women; 25 per cent. of young offenders). Niven, S. and Stewart, D (2005) Resettlement Outcomes on Release from Prison in 2003. London: Home Office.

More detail on the 2003 survey is available in Home Office Research Findings 248 which is available on the RDS website: