We are committed to ensuring prisons are places where offenders can turn their backs on crime – reducing reoffending and keeping the public safe. In order for prisons to enable rehabilitation, they must first be places of safety and so we are taking urgent action to improve prison safety and security, alongside reforms to overhaul the system to focus on the rehabilitation of offenders.
We have invested £70 million to improve safety, security and decency in prisons, allowing us to fund new security scanners, improved searching techniques, phone-blocking technology and a financial crime unit to target criminals operating in prisons. Alongside this, we have taken immediate action to strengthen the frontline with over 4,700 new prison officers.
To reduce reoffending, we are implementing a cohesive plan to ensure offenders receive the right interventions to meet their individual needs. This includes investing £7 million in in-cell telephones to allow prisoners to maintain important family ties, and tackling health issues such as drug addiction through our drugs strategy.
We want to ensure that everyone leaving prison has access to a secure job and stable accommodation. Last year we launched the Education and Employment strategy to ensure offenders are set on a path to employment from the outset. Governors now have control to commission education provision that leads to work and we are engaging with employers to take on prisoners on ROTL or after release via the New Futures Network, which has had more than 230 businesses register to work with prisons since its launch. We also recently made changes so that Governors can now consider Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL) earlier and in more cases to enable prisoners to enter the workplace sooner.
Through the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy we have invested £6 million in pilot schemes bringing together prisons, local authorities, probation providers to help offenders find accommodation on release.