Peter Aldous invites Prisons Minister to HMP Blundeston

Waveney MP Peter Aldous yesterday praised Blundeston Prison for their work skilling prisoners in the House of Commons and asked Under-Secretary of State for Justice, what the Government are doing to ensure that prisons do not jeopardise local contracts.

Minister Crispin Blunt also agreed to Aldous’ request that he visit the prison to witness first-hand the excellent work done at the prison.

Text of Peter’s Question to Under-Secretary of State for Justice is below.

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on improving training and skills of adult prisoners to improve their employment chances after the end of their sentence and reduce the risk of reoffending. [114716]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Crispin Blunt): I worked closely with the Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning during the preparation of the new offender learning strategy published last year, and officials from both Departments have worked closely on implementation. I fully recognise the importance of learning and training in making prisoners more employable, and my officials and I are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to provide enhanced employment support via the Work programme.

Peter Aldous: I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. HMP Blundeston in my constituency is doing excellent work to provide prisoners with employment skills. It is seeking to bring in work, but faces a dilemma in that it does not wish to take contracts away from local employers. Will the Minister visit Blundeston to see that work and to discuss with the governor and staff what can be done to meet that particular challenge?

Mr Blunt: I wish to visit Blundeston to see a number of examples of good practice, not just those to do with work in prisons. We have developed a code of practice to demonstrate how we will work fairly to address concerns about unfair competition and protecting local jobs. It is vital that the growth in prison work add to the UK supply chain and increase rather than reduce employment opportunities for law-abiding citizens while aiding the rehabilitation of offenders.

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