Alliance welcomes the Justice Secretary’s speech on prisons

17 Jul 2015

The Prisoner Learning Alliance(PLA), representing 23 expert organisations, welcomes the Secretary of State for Justice, Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP’s commitment to prioritise education in prisons, announced in a speech today (17th July 2015).

Alexandra Marks, Chair of PLA, said:

 “We welcome today’s speech, hosted by the Prisoner Learning Alliance, highlighting the importance of providing men and women in prison with opportunities to engage in learning. In our first report, Smart Rehabilitation, the PLA called upon the government to put learning at the heart of the youth and adult estate. We are delighted with the Justice Secretary’s commitment to support governors to do just that.”

 The Justice Secretary said he wants to encourage people in prison to aspire to learn and to give Governors more control to be more innovative, imaginative and demanding of education provision.

Mr Gove highlighted the need to give incentives to both staff and prisoners, especially those who make a commitment to serious educational activity, who work hard to acquire qualifications employers recognise. 

 Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP said:

 “We must be more demanding of our prisons, and more demanding of offenders, making those who run our prisons both more autonomous and more accountable while also giving prisoners new opportunities by expecting them to engage seriously and purposefully in education and work.”

 Alexandra Marks, Chair of PLA, added:

 “The fall in purposeful activity in prisons over the past year urgently needs to be addressed to help rehabilitate prisoners and make them less likely to commit crime on release. We are pleased Mr Gove recognises this need to improve education outcomes and that he wants to give prisoners and staff the tools to do so.

 “We look forward to constructive working with the Ministry of Justice to realise this ambition.”

Editor's Notes

For interviews, photos or further information please contact Susannah Henty (PET), Media Manager:; 020 3752 5676 or visit

Michael Gove delivered the speech today, 17th July 2015, at The Foundry, Vauxhall, a Social Justice and Human Rights Centre where several charitable organisations working in the criminal justice sector are based, including PLA members.

PLA carries out research, informed by its members, prison staff and prisoner learners, to improve prison education policies. Read the PLA’s briefing on the Future of Prison Education Contracts, published May 2015 and its first report, Smart Rehabilitation, published December 2013.

About Us

The Prisoner Learning Alliance was formed in 2012 by the charity Prisoners’ Education Trust ‘to provide expertise and vision to inform future priorities, policies and practices relating to prison education, learning and skills’. It now brings together 23 expert organisations who work to champion learning for people in prison.

For the full list of members visit: 


HM Inspectorate of prisons’ annual report: