Prison education key if government plans to cut reoffending are to succeed

20 November 2012 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU said today that prison education was essential if the government's plans to cut reoffending were to have any chance of success.

  • Prisoners without access to education are three times more likely to reoffend
  • Over half of crime in this country is committed by people who have been to prison

Speaking ahead of a speech from the justice minister, Chris Grayling, the union pointed to studies that show that prisoners who do not take part in education are three times more likely to be reconvicted than those that do. 

A National Audit Office (NAO) report said that many prisoners were failing to get the rehabilitation they needed. The report found that many prisoners were spending all day in their cells, rather than being engaged in education and rehabilitation.

The union also said the current process of retendering needed to be looked at if offenders' education was to be enhanced. UCU said the constant rounds of retendering meant there was little continuity for offenders.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Chris Grayling's plans for mentoring once people are released from prison should be welcomed, as should his call for better-educated prisoners. Prison education is the key factor in cutting reoffending.

'The government needs to back today's rhetoric with a real commitment to prison education. Our post-16 education system is threatened with huge cuts and there is a real risk that the teachers required won't be available to educate offenders. We must urgently look at the tendering process as well to ensure offenders have continuity and a proper chance to progress through the prison education system.'