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Prisons: Officers

Volume 711: debated on Wednesday 10 June 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering using prison officers as learning advocates. [HL3973]

The prison officer role is central to the reducing reoffending agenda, one aspect of which is the education, training and employment pathway. Prison officers are prepared for their role by means of a one-year foundation training programme incorporating an eight-week prison officer entry level training course and a level 3 national vocational qualification in custodial care (CCNVQ). Since September 2007, all new officers must complete the NVQ in their first year. Module GJ2 of the CCNVQ—“support individuals in custody to take part in purposeful activities”—is optional but to date 1,169 new prison officers have either obtained or are currently working towards this unit. This NVQ module requires prison officers to demonstrate that they are encouraging prisoners to take part in purposeful activities which include educational, recreational and work activities.

There are no plans as yet to introduce a central policy on prison officers acting as learning advocates.