Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education
I am pleased to be able to publish today the review of prisoner education in Wales that was undertaken by David Hanson MP during the latter part of the summer 2018.
The former Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning asked for the review to take place in order to gain an independent insight into the delivery of education and employability support in prisons and for prisoners on release in the community across Wales, exploring what works well and highlighting areas for improvement.
As part of the review, David Hanson MP engaged with a range of stakeholders across the Welsh Government and the Justice System in Wales, including those involved in the commissioning and delivery of education for offenders and ex-offenders. He also spoke with prisoners to better understand their needs and motivation in accessing education services in prison.
The aim of the review was to consider how the existing system could be improved and I am pleased that David has made a number of recommendations to that effect.
Reoffending by those released from custody costs society around £15 billion per year. Through effective rehabilitation, we hope to reduce re-offending and the number of victims of crime in the future. We know that providing access to good quality education, skills and employment is a major contributing factor to this, so it is imperative that the Welsh Government’s investment is creating the right opportunities and an effective pathway out of crime.
David Hanson has proposed a number of recommendations that cover the current working arrangements with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service and how we can involve stakeholders more actively in developing policy and delivery. He also outlines the opportunities the Welsh Government has to promote the employment of ex-offenders and how we can improve the support for prisoners on release.
The Report also makes clear proposals for how Welsh Government can provide better support for women in the criminal justice system and a stronger focus on the digital agenda. Whilst we accept these recommendations broadly in principle, we will now examine the 22 recommendations in detail and respond accordingly as a number of them will require our early attention.
I intend to follow up with a further statement in six months’ time to review progress against the recommendations.
Finally, I would like to thank David for bringing such wide expertise and personal insight in this area and committing his valuable time to undertaking the review. I am certain his recommendations will assist the future delivery of education in prisons in Wales and provide a solution focused approach, working very much in partnership with stakeholders as we move forward.
The report is available at: https://gov.wales/independent-review-prison-education