As you’d expect within LTE group we are very much supportive of the key principles within the government’s White Paper. We believe in supporting offenders to live crime-free lives through rehabilitation, founded on the provision of learning and skills. LTE group supports the key messages from the White Paper, which I’d summarise as:
- A £1.3bn investment in modernising prisons
- Greater control for prison Governors to control their own budgets, including over education and employment schemes
- Safer and fit-for-purpose prisons for the 21st century; and
- Statutory rehabilitation.
For me, the message coming through from the White Paper is about the importance of the prison system providing an environment that is able to return rehabilitated, educated and skilled people back into communities. This will require radical and courageous political thinking and the need for positive relationships that allow a deeper and wider integration of the justice and resettlement system.
I believe the key to achieving this is through a joined-up approach to rehabilitation, which in turn requires a coherence of policy in prison and through the gate. The litmus test will of course be the need for resources and skills to make all of this happen.
I fully welcome and recognise that we need an environment in establishments where prisoners and prison staff are safe and secure. What we need to see is a clear plan and the combined effort to deliver the plan. This sort of focus will support the enhancement of rehabilitation.
We need to give the prison Governors and staff the ability to carry out their role. As we approach the Autumn Statement, at a time of political and economic uncertainty, it is vital that the need for resources and political courage is not lost to this vital aspect of social policy. A legal requirement alone is not enough - we need to see that all-important funding, training and implementation plan to support Governors in delivering rehabilitation. We need to support this work and make sure the policy is carefully thought-through and coherent. By doing that we will have a plan that is funded and supported to deliver sustainable, fundamental change.