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Prisons (Training)

Volume 545: debated on Tuesday 15 May 2012

Following the joint Ministry of Justice and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills review of offender learning, we are enabling prison governors to determine jointly with the Skills Funding Agency the procurement of training in their prisons. The relative priority for that, set against a falling overall budget for the MOJ and BIS, is shown by the fact that funding is being maintained at £154 million per academic year for the programme.

I recently visited Standford Hill prison in my constituency, where I saw inmates being trained to make optical lenses by Tanjit Singh Dosanjh, who undertakes the training on a voluntary basis. Unfortunately, Mr Dosanjh will not be able to offer that service free of charge indefinitely, so will my hon. Friend consider formalising Mr Dosanjh’s scheme to enable it to continue?

We are always keen to support work and training initiatives in prison and with offenders. A significant number of policy initiatives are now coming forward that might be able to incorporate the kind of service and training that Mr Dosanjh is offering, and I will ask my officials to contact him to see what might be possible.