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Education key if government plans to cut prisoners' reoffending are to succeed

17 January 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

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 • Almost three quarters of young offenders return to crime when they are released

UCU today welcomed news that young offenders are to receive more education during custody. The union said education was the best tool to cut reoffending and called on ministers to back their positive words up with proper funding.

Prisoners who do not take part in education are three times more likely to be reconvicted than those that do, while almost three quarters of young offenders return to crime when they are released. Currently, young offenders spend on average just 12 hours a week in education.

A National Audit Office (NAO) report said that 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.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Plans for young people to have more education should be welcomed. Prison education is the key factor in cutting reoffending.

'We really hope the government will back today's positive words up with a real commitment to prison education. Our post-16 education system is threatened with huge cuts and, without proper funding, there is a real risk that the teachers required won't be available to educate offenders.'