Reports and briefings

Prisoner Learning Alliance briefing on decision not to extend National Careers Service (NCS) contracts in prisons - February 2018

As of 31 March 2018, the contracts for National Career Service (NCS) in every prison in England will expire. The decision was taken by the Ministry of Justice not to extend the service, with uncertainty as to what would replace it.

Click above to read the PLA's briefing on this issue. It outlines concerns about the anticipated gap in provision from April 2018, and the hugely valuable role that NCS careers advisors have played in supporting prisoners' education and rehabilitation.

Prisoner Learning Alliance Submission to HMIP public consultation on new expectations for adult male prisons - February 2017

On 3 January 2017, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) opened a public consultation regarding updates to its Expectations for adult male prisons, the set of criteria used when conducting inspections.

Click above to read the submission by the Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA). For the HMIP draft expectations document to which the submission refers in detail, click here.

Prisoner Learning Alliance Briefing on the Ministry of Justice White Paper: Prison Safety and Reform – November 2016

Justice Secretary Liz Truss announced the Prison Safety and Reform White Paper on 3 November 2016, detailing “reforms which will transform how our prisons are run and give prisoners the skills they need to become law-abiding citizens when they are released”.

The PLA has issued the above briefing in response to the White Paper. The PLA welcomes the new steps being outlined to address both safety and rehabilitation, and the recognition of the link between the two areas. However, the briefing draws attention to the Coates Review ‘Unlocking Potential’, published in May 2016, and its recommendations regarding education in prisons. The PLA is disappointed that not all of these recommendations are included in the White Paper, despite all having been accepted by the Government on publication of the Review. It is only by implementing the Review recommendations in their entirety, rather than picking and choosing various elements, that the full benefits of learning in prison can be realised and prisoners’ lives transformed.

What is prison education for? A theory of change exploring the value of learning in prison - June 2016

Justice Secretary Michael Gove said in a speech to prison Governors: “We want individuals who leave prison to be changed characters [...] to have become assets contributing to society rather than liabilities who bring only costs.” But how does that ‘change’ process happen and what role can education play? 

The Prisoner Learning Alliance (PLA) aims to stimulate debate around these issues. Using research with teachers and former prisoners, the report examines how we can measure the benefit of education in prison, and how we can improve its provision. 

The Future of Prison Education Contracts: Delivering Better Outcomes - May 2015

This PLA briefing offers practical policy solutions to reduce crime by making some key improvements to prison education contracts. It calls on on the Secretaries of State for Justice, Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP, and for Business, Innovation and Skills, Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP, to extend the current Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) contracts for a further year, to avoid the cost and disruption of re-procurement, but to make some important changes in the process.

The briefing outlines eight solutions which, with greater flexibility within the contracts, could enable prisons to achieve better rehabilitative outcomes. See also the following press release.

Smart Rehabilitation: learning how to get better outcomes - December 2013

To set out a blueprint for improving prison education, policy and practice,  PLA members formed three Task and Finish Groups and each group held an expert roundtable event to gather evidence from over 50 different practitioners, officers, teachers, managers, governors, organisations and learners to help inform the report. 

The report was launched in Parliament on the 9th of December, 2013 where the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick, gave an inspiring keynote speech outlining the importance of raising standards of education in prisons to achieve the best rehabilitation outcomes. For more information about the launch event, click here.

To disseminate the findings of the Smart Rehabilitation report, the PLA hosted a conference to explore the key themes of the report in further detail. There were great practitioner led workshops which covered a wide range of themes including; engaging hard to reach learners, effective induction, developing employability and joining up through the gate. To read more about the conference, click here.