The Chief Inspector’s Annual Report shows that, in too many cases, people are not supported to build employment skills and strengthen relationships while in prison, which holds them back from reaching their potential after release. Evidence shows having purpose through work opportunities and connection through supportive relationships are two of the most significant things people leaving prison need to provide a strong and stable bridge to the rest of their lives.
The return to provide in-person education, relationships courses and family days has been too slow. The lack of access to in-cell telephony and laptops in many prisons shows our system remains outdated, yet we expect people leaving prison to be able to turn their lives around and contribute to society. In order to set people up for success, practical solutions are needed – the good practice identified in the report, like Father’s Day activities and access to day release to gain work experience, need to be made more widely available.
This concerning report comes at a time when the government is pushing ahead with plans to build more prisons. Instead, efforts and resources should be focused on speeding up the recovery efforts in those prisons lagging behind and better supporting people in the prisons we currently have. This would help make sure that once they leave prison, they don’t reoffend and go back.
Our recent CJA Members Meeting focused on employment and self-employment for prison leavers. Read the writeup to learn about solutions to the lack of purposeful activity found by HMIP.