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UCU slams govt proposals to transfer prisoners to police cells

The government’s controversial plan to move offenders to police cells is likely to result in higher re-offending rates, a union has warned.

Christiane Ohsan, University and College Union (UCU) National Officer for Prison Educators, said: “Prisoners transferred to police cells will not be receiving any education or training. And the frequent transfer of prisoners between institutions can set back to square one their attempts to pursue education”.

The UCU released the statement following Home Secretary John Reid’s announcement of emergency accommodation measures for prisoners, “Operation Safeguard”. The measures were introduced following crisis reports that current prison spaces could not cope, prompting a risk of overcrowding.

Citing a House of Commons Education and Skills Committee report released last year, Christiane continued: “Prisoners who don”t receive education are three times more likely to be reconvicted than those that do, so these emergency measures are going to raise re-offending rates”.

“The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, is right to say that overcrowded jails are preventing rehabilitation. It is essential that prisoners can receive education and training for release and possible employment. The failure to adequately provide this is a cause of crime which the government is certainly not being tough on”.

“Operation Safeguard is just more crisis management and won”t solve overcrowding but what we actually need is a joined-up plan for criminal justice, prisoner education and rehabilitation”.

Vijay Pattni.

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