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Prisoners: InnerChange Initiative

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the InnerChange initiative to rehabilitate prisoners in HM Prison Dartmoor was banned on the basis that it might offend minority religious groups and homosexuals; and [HL7367]

How many prisoners participated in the InnerChange initiative at HM Prison Dartmoor; and what has been the impact on their behaviour; and [HL7368]

Whether the InnerChange programme at HM Prison Dartmoor failed a Prison Service quality assurance process; if so, on what grounds; what are the principles underlying this process; and what would the programme have to contain to meet the required standards.[HL7370]

The InnerChange programme was introduced as a pilot only. Under Prison Service Order 4350 (Effective Regimes Interventions), the Prison Service is required to review all programmes to ensure that they are of the appropriate quality and effectiveness and offer value for money. A multidisciplinary panel, which included the National Offender Management Service Chaplaincy, reviewed the programme and identified a range of concerns. The most significant were the poor quality of the manuals, which did not demonstrate a structured and coherent programme, a lack of consistency and clarity about the primary aims of the programme, a lack of understanding and appropriate sensitivity to the diversity agenda of the Prison Service, and an absence of protocols for the management of the mentor system, making it unsafe. The area manager considered the recommendation from the panel and decided to discontinue the programme. Forty-two prisoners have undertaken the course. No formal evaluation on the impact on behaviour has been possible given the small numbers involved.