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Prime minister should put education at the heart of prison reform

8 February 2016 | last updated: 25 February 2016

Education is the key to reducing re-offending, and governors should work closely with educators to ensure it is at the heart of prison reform, UCU said today.

Speaking in response to the Prime Minister's announcement that six new reform prisons would be created this year, UCU said governors need to give learning a strong voice within prisons and invite education staff to sit on boards and senior management teams.

The union also said that prisoners needed to have access to a broad range of courses and be given greater incentives to engage in learning, with equal pay for working and learning within prisons.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We know that there is a clear link between increasing skills and reducing reoffending, and this reform is a great opportunity to put education at the heart of the prison system.

'Prison educators need a strong voice at the top of prison management, working closely with governors to ensure that learning remains a priority within each prison, and that there is a broad and balanced curriculum available.

'We also need to pay prisoners to learn- this is the only way to reduce incentives for prisoners to spend their time in low-skilled work rather than gaining skills which will better prepare them for a life after prison.'