- Ministry of Justice and Department for Work and Pensions pledge to improve support for offenders leaving prison
- Joint approach to help offenders turn their lives around
- Part of wider efforts to drive rehabilitation and protect the public
Prisons Minister Robert Buckland and Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance, Will Quince, have committed to work together to improve an offender’s journey from custody to the community.
The National Partnership Agreement sets out how the departments will jointly drive rehabilitation and reduce reoffending. This includes:
- Ensuring prisoners have proper access to the right training and support during their time in custody
- Providing access to bank accounts and ID so prisoners can apply for jobs more easily
- Streamlining the resettlement process
- Reviewing the support provided through the grant given to offenders leaving custody
DWP and MoJ are also exploring ways to improve the prisoner benefit claim process – ensuring offenders have timely access to financial support on release through advance payments where needed.
Prisons Minister Robert Buckland said:
I am delighted to support this new partnership agreement with DWP. Giving offenders the tools they need to find a job and stable accommodation on release is vital to reducing reoffending and ultimately keeping the public safe.
By working together, we can ensure offenders leaving prison have the support they need to turn their backs on crime for good.
Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance Will Quince said:
We are determined to tackle the cycle of re-offending by helping offenders readjust into the community, move into work and rebuild their lives. It doesn’t just benefit those being released, but also the economy and wider society.
This new partnership provides a vital framework for our departments to work together to best support offenders, including helping them more easily access Universal Credit and the employment opportunities it provides.
The agreement comes one year on from the launch of the Education and Employment Strategy, with 230 additional businesses – including Pret A Manger and Greene King – already signed up to the MoJ’s flagship offender work placement scheme, the New Futures Network.
The drive to reduce reoffending through rehabilitation sits alongside an additional investment of £70m to increase stability in prisons. More than 4,700 additional officers have also been recruited since October 2016 and staffing levels are at their highest since 2012.