Employment of People with Criminal Convictions Debate

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Department: Ministry of Justice

Employment of People with Criminal Convictions

Lord Bishop of Gloucester Excerpts
Monday 26th February 2024

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Bellamy Portrait Lord Bellamy (Con)
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My Lords, I can give your Lordships a variety of examples. I was talking to a prisoner from HMP Winchester the other day; he was very pleased and said, “It’s been great. I’ve completed the IT course and for the first time in my life I can do a Word document and an Excel spreadsheet”.

Your Lordships may have seen the report in the press this morning about HMP Liverpool, which has been completely transformed. The brewery Marston’s has a mock-up of a pub, where prisoners can train to work in hospitality. In HMP Swansea you will find the mock-up of an HGV with which you can qualify for your HGV licence. In HMP Humber you can do the same thing with a forklift truck. There is a great deal going on in our prisons, and we should be very proud of our Prison Service for pursuing those initiatives.

Lord Bishop of Gloucester Portrait The Lord Bishop of Gloucester
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My Lords, from these Benches I add our own sadness at the death of Lord Cormack. His contributions to this House and to the Church will be sorely missed.

As has been said, there has been a serious decline in rehabilitation and release planning services in recent years. Prisoners need to be engaged with purposeful work; there needs to be planning ahead of their release—including release on temporary licence—to secure employment, if we are to prevent reoffending. What steps are the Government taking to increase release on temporary licence?

Lord Bellamy Portrait Lord Bellamy (Con)
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My Lords, the Government are very keen to allow prisoners release on temporary licence wherever that is possible. I emphasise the work that has gone into preparing prisoners for employment; there is now an employment lead in every one of our 93 prisons, and an employment hub where prisoners can access vacancies, make applications, et cetera. Every prisoner has an ID, a bank account and accommodation arranged when they are being released. There is an employment advisory board in every prison, and these measures are taking effect.