Decline of prison rehabilitation programs: Impact and policy shifts in England and Wales

Decline of prison rehabilitation programs Impact and policy shifts in England and Wales
credit: theguardian

London (Parliament News) – The number of prisoners undergoing rehabilitation programmes in England and Wales under successive Conservative governments has decreased by 74%, according to research.

About 12,000 fewer prisoners took courses prepared to change and enhance their behaviour and reduce reoffending in 2023 compared with 2010 when David Cameron became PM.

Offender management programmes are developed to “change the thinking, attitudes and manners which may lead people to re-offend”, according to the Ministry of Justice. The courses promote goals for the future and are designed to assist people develop new skills so they can stop recidivism. These include problem-solving, working relationships and self-management.

The range of schedules includes ones to address specific crimes, for example, sexual offending and domestic violence, general practices of offending behaviour and substance misuse.

Why Are Prison Rehabilitation Programs Declining in England and Wales?

Data indicates that between 2010 and 2023 – the latest figures available – the number of offenders meeting all accredited programmes decreased by 74%, from 16,099 to 4,135.

The figures come after the Guardian revealed that prison governors were told by civil servants that the government was predicted to be plunged into a new overcrowding situation in July. In a separate development, a woman was charged over a social media video allegedly depicting a member of prison attendants having sex with a prisoner in a jail cell.

What Impact Does Reduce Rehabilitation Have on Reoffending Rates?

According to MoJ data, more than 60% more periodic prisoners completed “general offending” agendas, while 11% fewer met “thinking skills” programmes. Over the same course, 19% fewer prisoners concluded sexual offending programmes. Last year, 400 criminals – 53% fewer than in 2010 – concluded violence programmes, while statistics indicate that the prison estate is getting more fierce.

Serious charges have risen by 90% in 10 years, while prison staff encountered assault nearly 180 times a week last year. Violence is also increasing outside the prison estate. The number of inmates who join accredited programmes also dropped by 75% between 2010 and 2023.

What Factors Contribute to the Decline in Prisoner Rehabilitation?

The government accuses the decline in programme completions the particular that ownership of substance abuse programmes has transferred to the NHS and is therefore not surrounded by HM Prison and Probation Service statistics. In a response to a parliamentary question on accredited programmes, the prisons minister, Edward Argar, stated that “more offenders are conducting programmes run by the NHS, rather than HMPPS”.

However, analysis of data issued by the Department of Health and Social Care still indicates a decline in the number of adults in certain settings who are in alcohol and drug treatment agendas. Since 2015-16, the number in alcohol and drug therapy has dropped by nearly 13,500 (22%). New presentations to such agendas fell by 23% in the same period. Nearly 11,000 fewer people began programmes in 2022-23 than in 2015-16.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan police stated they began examining after being made “aware of a tape allegedly filmed inside HMP Wandsworth”, adding that a lady had been arrested on apprehension of misconduct in public office the exact day and remained in custody.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.