Harlow MP Robert Halfon asks question on prison reform
Politics / Wed 8th Dec 2021 at 04:08pm
HARLOW MP Robert Halfon rose on the floor of the House of Commons to ask a question regarding prison reform.
Mr Halfon said: “I welcome the statement. My hon. Friend will be aware that the Select Committee on Education has undertaken an inquiry on prison education, and there is a lot of evidence on the inability of offenders to undertake apprenticeships and do on-site training, which is hampering skills development.
“The proportion of offenders in employment one year after release is just 17%, which contributes to high levels of reoffending, as she knows, and there is the welfare cost.
“The prisoner apprenticeship pathway does not go far enough. Will she support an amendment to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill and work with me to allow offenders to hold and start apprenticeships in prison?
The full debate is below.
A realistic plan to deal with drug addition is not about proving how strong you are at locking up more addicts over ten years. No a serious plan would take 30 years to deliver real change. It involves legalising all classes of drug. The plan would prepare the ground for providing proper medical treatment and care. It would reduce the prison population, court time, police time and would reduce the pressure on NHS services. Will it happen? No. This government and the Labour opposition don't have the balls to do it! Having visited three prisons in the London area in the last two years I can tell you how run down they are and although the staff try to provide educational facilities to the inmates the lack of resources in noticeable. And really this prison plan should focus of improving the current prison estates before building more. That includes increasing staff levels. Sadly Mr. Halfon and his party does not understand these issues and until he does nothing will change just like other public services they claim to be improving. Very sad.
Gary Roberts makes a few interesting points, but I can assure him visiting a prison is not as insightful as doing a stretch in one. Perhaps the lawmakers ought to speak to ex-offenders for how life in prison can make some take the journey from meek and mild to contemplating stoving a fellow prisoner's head in using a PP9 battery in a sock or sticking them using a knife made from plastic cutlery. Also, they might hear about the opposite experience of being so bullied and degraded that they try to hang themselves with a bedsheet from their window bars or the less determined slashing their wrists. Robert Halfon has some very good ideas about apprenticeships in prison and deserves credit for raising the topic which won't win any extra votes. I greatly appreciate his intervention as my own experience was that prison education was a lifeline. It was a much needed distraction after watching the grisly recovery of a lifeless corpse hanging from the window bars in the cell opposite. The fact that this was 32 years ago does not make it any less relevant or traumatic. One only has to read Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons reports to see how bullying, violence and drug abuse has grown in prisons over the years, especially in privatised prisons.