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Prisons: Education Provision

Volume 571: debated on Thursday 2 May 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether 60 per cent. of gaols are reducing education classes.

Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Baroness Hilton of Eggardon from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Richard Tilt, dated 2nd May 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question about education reductions in prisons.

Education is an essential part of the opportunities which must be provided in prisons. The Prison Service has given guidance to governors which identifies the core curriculum areas to which priority should be given. This includes the necessary support for prisoners who lack the basic skills of literacy and numeracy. But it is right for governors to review all regime activities and make considered decisions on how available financial provision can best be utilised. There is, for example, scope for improving the targeting of education provision and for considering whether other activities, like work and programmes to tackle offending behaviour, can better address identified prisoner needs.