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Farmer Review

Volume 630: debated on Tuesday 31 October 2017

5. What progress the Government have made on the implementation of the Farmer review published on 10 August 2017. (901516)

The family is the most effective resettlement agency that we have. That is a view shared by the prisons inspectorate, the probation service and Ofsted. The time to work on those relationships is from the moment an offender is sentenced to jail. To leave it longer is to leave it too late. That is why I welcome the excellent review by Lord Farmer, and we are working to implement all his recommendations.

Figures from the Farmer review show that inmates who receive regular family visits are 39% less likely to reoffend. Will the Minister outline what steps the Government are taking to enable more family visits to happen in our prisons?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Reoffending rates among people who have family contact are a lot lower than those for other offenders. We are working to implement all of Lord Farmer’s review over time. I will be meeting her and a number of colleagues to discuss our progress on this later.

The Farmer review references prisoner wellbeing. At HMP Nottingham in the past two months alone, four prisoners have killed themselves and one has died of an overdose. Will Ministers say why they think this is happening, and what do they plan to do about it?

The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point. Certainly, for a lot of prisoners—whether for their mental wellbeing and issues to do with self-harm, but also violence—family contact can make a difference. There are specific issues relating to HMP Nottingham, and I am willing to write to him about those.

In Parc Prison outside Bridgend in south Wales, parent teacher evenings take place in the prison so fathers can demonstrate their ongoing responsibility to their children’s education. Will the Minister tell us if any other prisons are going to follow the excellent example set by Parc?

The former Prisons Minister makes an excellent point about good practice at Parc Prison. As he is aware, there is good practice dotted around the prison estate. We have Storybook Dads and Mums in some prisons and Our Voice in other prisons. We want to see good practice spread across the entire estate. To enable us to do that, we are devolving budgets to prison governors, and we will also hold them to account when we pilot new family and significant relationship performance measures as of next year.