§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy towards education in Scottish prisons. 
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
[holding answer 15 January 1996]: As a recognised regime activity, education for prisoners is provided on the basis of need subject to prisoners' willingness to participate in what is a voluntary activity and resources being available. Courses range from literary and numeracy to degree level with a sizeable proportion focusing on recognised qualifications such as the Scottish Vocational Education Council modules to help prisoners find employment and to continue with their studies on release.
§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list those prisons in Scotland which provide educational courses leading to recognised qualifications for prisoners;. 
(2) if he will estimate the level of public expenditure that has been devoted to education in Scottish prisons over the last five years and the levels projected to be spent over the next three years;. 
(3) how many prisoners in Scottish jails are currently studying on courses leading to educational qualifications;. 
(4) what studies his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated to investigate the effect of education in Scottish jails on recidivism rates;. 
(5) what plans he has to set up a Scottish prison education trust to assist in promoting education in Scottish prisons;. 
(6) what estimate he has made of the proportion of prisoners in Scottish prisons who would be willing to undertake education while serving prison sentences if appropriate courses were available. 
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
[holding answer 15 January 1996]: The subjects of the questions relate to matters undertaken by the Scottish Prison Service. I have asked its chief executive, Mr. E. W. Frizzell, to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from D. A. Stewart to Mr. Archy Kirkwood, dated 16 January 1996:Lord James Douglas-Hamilton has asked the Chief Executive to reply to your questions about listing those prisons which provide educational courses leading to recognised qualifications for prisoners, the level of public expenditure devoted to education in prisons, the number of prisoners currently studying on courses leading to educational qualifications, what studies have been carried out to investigate the effect of education on recidivism rates, what plans there are to set up a Scottish Prison Education Trust and what estimate has been made of the proportion of prisoners who would be willing to undertake education if appropriate courses were available. In absence of the Chief Executive form the office, I am replying on his behalf.546WAll prison establishments in Scotland provide educational courses leading to recognised qualification for prisoners save, for the present, the recently formed Peterhead Unit and National Induction Centre at Shotts and Longriggend Remand Unit where the average length of stay for those on remand is relatively short.Expenditure on education for prisoners for each of the four years to 31 March 1995 together with the budget for the current financial year is as follows:
Year £000 1991–92 1,273 1992–93 11,674 1993–94 1,545 1994–95 1,657 1995–96 Budget 1,678 1Payment pattern skewed by incorporation of colleges of further education on 1 April 1993.Budget allocations for establishments for 1996–97 (including budgets for education) are still in the process of being agreed. Budgets for 1997–98 and 1998–99 will be set in due course.In terms of the number of prisoners currently studying on courses leading to educational qualifications a recent snapshot showed that there are approximately 1,100 prisoners in this category.On the topic of education and recidivism rates, no specific research studies have been undertaken to investigate the effects of education on recidivism. However, the recent computerisation of the system of prisoner records in Scotland will provide an opportunity, in future years, to examine the impact of a range of prisoner programmes, including education on recidivism.The Scottish Prison Service has no plans to set up a Scottish Prison Education Trust.An estimate of the proportion of prisoners willing to undertake education is not held centrally. Each establishment keeps under review the appropriate mix of regime activities, including education, in the light of the needs of prisoners.