§ Lord Elton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether, as reported by the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE), the reduction in target hours of education to be given to inmates in the current year is 45.5 per cent. at HMP Highpoint, 52.2 per cent. at HMP Wandsworth and 83.3 per cent. at HMP Albany; what is the current number on roll and Certified Normal Accommodation (CNA) at each of those prisons; whether there are to be further cuts in education at any of those prisons; and what they expect the effects on the management of those prisons and the conduct of their inmates to be.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch)
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.9WA
Letter to Lord Elton from the Director of Security and Programmes, The Prison Service, Mr. A. J. Pearson, dated 17th June 1996.
Lady Blatch has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about reported reductions in education provision at Highpoint, Wandsworth and Albany prisons.
Information on the number of hours of education provided in prisons is measured as the number of teaching hours contracted for and delivered.
At Highpoint prison, the reduction in teaching hours is from 16,500 hours in the calendar year 1995, to a forecast 10,815 hours in the calendar year 1996—a reduction of 34 per cent. At Wandsworth prison, the reduction in teaching hours is from 9,638 hours in 1995 to 4,772 in 1996—a reduction of 50 per cent. At Albany prison, the reduction in teaching hours is from 8,050 hours in 1995 to 3,500 in 1996—a reduction of 56.5 per cent.
The current numbers on roll and the certified normal accommodation at Highpoint prison are, respectively, 665 and 679; at Wandsworth prison they are 840 and 860; and at Albany prison they are 427 and 436.
There are no further reductions planned at Highpoint or Wandsworth prisons; there is expected to be a further small reduction in hours in 1997 at Albany prison.
Adverse effects on the management of these prisons or on the conduct of the prisoners are not expected. Prisoners will continue to have access to a balanced set of regime activities. Priority is given to those activities that contribute to security and control, are constructive and purposeful, offer good value for money and help prisoners to tackle their offending behaviour.
Highpoint prison has closed the classroom accommodation at one of its two sites but will still be able to deliver workshop-based skills at that site, and will be able to deliver a wider range of classes at its other site.
At Wandsworth prison, a proportion of the reduction reflects the reduction in the prison roll from 1,200 to 840 (30 per cent.), and although the number of teaching hours to be delivered has been reduced, the size of classes has increased.
At Albany prison, classes with five or fewer prisoners attending have been cancelled and the prisoners concerned given other activities. Albany prison now requires inmates to work and train rather than attend recreational classes during the day; recreational education is offered in the evening. Prisoners requiring help with basic education are catered for in daytime classes.