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Catch22 responds to Prisons Strategy White Paper

The Government's Prisons Strategy White Paper includes a commitment to improved education and employment support in prison and for those being released. Catch22's Director of Justice, Lisa Smitherman, reacts to the paper.

07 December 2021

In response to the Prisons Strategy White Paper, Lisa Smitherman, Director of Justice at Catch22, said:

“The emphasis on meaningful education within the prison setting – with clear routes to employment – is hugely welcome. We know that having a job upon release greatly reduces the likelihood of reoffending, yet only around 25% of men and 20% of women secure work once they leave prison.

“In-cell learning will play a major part in this, and we welcome the new Prison Education Service to train up offenders with vocation skills including construction and coding. Our own work at Code4000, which teaches computer programming to prisoners, is proving very successful.  40% of those graduating from the programme have secured work immediately upon release, and none of the participants have gone on to reoffend.

“Properly preparing prisoners for release will be key to the success of a strategy that both protects the public and gives ex-offenders a renewed purpose.”

A former Governor of YOI Isis, Ms Smitherman added:

“Giving Governors more autonomy is a welcome move – but that must mean real empowerment, not lip service. They should be given the opportunity to strategise all elements of delivery from workforce to all service and contracts delivered to meet the needs of their prison’s population. The public league tables have the potential to improve standards and spread best practice.”

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