Prison closures make mockery of government commitment to rehabilitation
UCU said today that government plans to shut Latchmere and Brockhill prisons in September and transfer a further eight into the private sector made a mockery of the government's supposed commitment to the rehabilitation of prisoners.
UCU said that while the government talks about rehabilitation and reducing reoffending its cuts will mean the closure of the successful rehabilitation programmes that are key to stopping reoffending. The union said the only winners in the government's drive to privatise the prison service would be the private firms most adept at securing government contracts and making money.
Over half of all crime committed in the country is by people who have been through the prison system and studies show that prisoners who do not take part in education are three times more likely to be reconvicted than those that do.
UCU said it was disappointed at the lack of consultation with colleges providing education for the prisons and the staff themselves. In the case of Latchmere, which has Kensington and Chelsea College as its education provider, the college says it had no foreknowledge of closure. Something the union says is indicative of the contempt in which employees are held.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'These plans make an absolute mockery of the government's supposed commitment to rehabilitation and reducing reoffending. In a dash to make savings it is losing the educational programmes that are absolutely vital in efforts to stop reoffending.
'The lack of consultation by the government with staff or the colleges providing that education is sadly indicative of the contempt in which employees are held.'