To reduce recidivism, prisons must prioritise rehabilitation, says chief inspector

The primary emphasis of correctional facilities should shift towards education, training, and rehabilitation, according to the chief inspector of prisons in England and Wales.

Reoffending can only be reduced through a "fundamental reorientation" of the penal system, Charlie Taylor stated to sources. 

His intervention coincides with mounting apprehension regarding the issue of prison overcrowding.

The government asserts that the outcomes for formerly incarcerated individuals will be enhanced with the introduction of its Prisoner Education Service. However, according to Mr. Taylor, correctional facilities were falling short in their efforts to deter recidivism and a significant number of offenders were not being taught to read.

He stated that others were enrolled in courses that would not assist them in obtaining employment in the future.

Furthermore, he contended that the prodigious accessibility of substances within certain correctional facilities impeded endeavours at rehabilitation, while demanding urgent measures to equip inmates with practical competencies essential for integration into the labour market.

The penitentiary population in the United Kingdom exceeded 87,000 as of last week. Mr. Taylor is of the opinion that the available space is insufficient to accommodate the activities required for effective rehabilitation of these inmates.

Regarding education in prison, Mr. Malkinson has mentioned many obstacles such as inadequate learning environments and non-existent direct internet access.

Mr. Malkinson stated, "People won't want to hear this, but the staff didn't particularly like us pursuing higher education." "Resistance arose, which caused a multitude of complications concerning trivial issues that were, in reality, unimportant." I perceived that they had erected barriers in my path, yet I remained resolute in my determination to surmount them.

Parallel to the investigation into the Mr. Malkinson case, the sector has been subject to heightened scrutiny since September, when an inmate was reported to have escaped from Wandsworth Prison. Daniel Khalife entered a not-guilty plea regarding his escape from the London prison.

A report authored prior to the purported escape, which was subsequently published, characterised Wandsworth Prison as "deplorable and inhumane."

According to the Independent Monitoring Board, the deficiencies of the institution were indicative of "the overall failings of the prison system."

Additionally, Mr. Taylor advocated for a "proper" discourse concerning the objectives of correctional facilities, the reasons individuals are incarcerated, the conditions under which inmates are held, and the public's expectations regarding the condition of released offenders.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice stated that it is common knowledge that inmates who are released from detention with employment have a reduced likelihood of reoffending.

Reoffending rates have decreased from 31% to 24% since 2010, and concerted efforts are being made to further reduce them.

The spokesperson additionally alluded to the Prisoner Education Service, a novel initiative touted by the government to augment funding for reading and writing skills, prisoner apprenticeships in construction and catering, and additional personnel dedicated to education within correctional facilities.

Prison Employment Leads connect inmates with employment upon their release, while our business-led Employment Advisory Boards ensure they acquire the necessary skills that employers seek and our new Prisoner Education Service improves incarcerated individuals' literacy and numeracy.

In the two years leading up to March 2023, the percentage of prisoners employed six months after their release more than doubled, according to government statistics they also cited.