Education should form part of prison sentences, says SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer

Lucy Frazer SE Cambs MP

Lucy Frazer SE Cambs MP - Credit: Archant

Education should form part of a prison sentence according to SE Cambs MP Lucy Frazer who said that seven out of ten young people re-offend within a year of leaving custody.

Ms Frazer took part in a House of Commons debate on prisons and probation where MPs heard that 67 per cent of young people leaving custody re-offend within the year and 72 per cent regularly played truant when at school.

“Half have no qualifications,” she said.

“I set out the importance of educating those in prison so that they can leave with opportunities for the future.”

The problem had nothing to do with party politics, she said, as: “Government after Government have grappled with the problem of how to reduce recidivism.

“I hope that Dame Sally Coates will consider in her review whether it is appropriate for education to form part of a prison sentence, and whether a reduction in a sentence might incentivise prisoners to improve their skills.

“Nelson Mandela said that “no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.

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“It is the disadvantaged in society who end up in prison. The Secretary of State is therefore absolutely right to look into the provision of education in our prisons, as he is doing.

“We know, as the Centre for Social Justice reported, that prisoners who do not take part in any education or training during their years in prison are three times more likely to be reconvicted on release.

“It is important to look not only at the availability of education — it is already currently offered — but at how we can encourage people to take up such education.

“We should aim to cut not re-offending, but all offending. For those who are vulnerable, who lack skills and who mix in circles where there is truancy and crime, the other world may be daunting and difficult. Fear is sometimes the greatest prison of all.”