HC Deb 08 July 2002 vol 388 cc732-3W
15. Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what effect the number of prisoners in England and Wales is having on the provision of rehabilitation schemes in prisons. [64761]

Hilary Benn

From 1996 to 2001 the number of offending behaviour programmes successfully completed by prisoners has risen almost fivefold despite a 19 per cent. growth in the prison population over the same period. Last year 16,000 prisoners achieved basic skills certificates, there are no firm indications yet that the number of prisoners is significantly affecting the provision of rehabilitation programmes in prisons. However, it is inevitable that at times of high population pressure such provision may be disrupted. The Prison Service will continue to do everything possible to minimise this.

21. Joyce Quin

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy on constructive regimes in prison to deter re-offending. [64767]

Hilary Benn

The Prison Service draws upon research, known as "What Works", to ensure an evidence based approach to providing regimes which are effective in tackling offending behaviour and the factors which contribute towards re-offending.

The Government has set the Prison Service challenging targets to improve its regimes and expand provision of basic skills training, drug treatment, offending behaviour programmes and resettlement activities. To achieve these targets, we are investing an additional £31 million in 2001–02, £50 million for 2002–03 and £71 million for 2003–04. In this way we are supporting the Prison Service in contributing to our target of reducing the rate of re-convictions by offenders punished by imprisonment or by community supervision by five per cent. by April 2004.