Examination of Witnesses (Questions 20
MONDAY 11 FEBRUARY 2002
20. What I am saying is that according to my
figures something like 70 per cent of prisoners who go to prison
do not take an accredited course.
(Mr Narey) They do not take an offending behaviour
programme but they can go through and they do go through drug
detox. They cannot go through drug treatment programmes, they
are not there long enough. They can do some work in education
but even then for something on education it needs six to eight
21. So it is a very small number of prisoners
who actually take an accredited course. This is contrary to Government
policy because the Government's priority, as far as I understand
it, is the revolving door policy whereby it is a fact that 60
per cent of prisoners reoffend and go back again.
(Mr Narey) About 58 per cent of prisoners are reconvicted
within two years of release. There are much shorter proportions
for those who serve longer sentences and for whom we are able
to do something.
22. Is it not a fact that the vast majority
of crime is carried out by a percentage of people who continue
to go in and out of prison?
(Mr Narey) I would agree with that.
23. And your accredited courses do not cover
(Mr Narey) It is not because we are being cussed about
this, it is because they do not work.
24. I am going to come on to that. I would dispute
whether they do work or they do not work. You say they do not
work. On a recent visit to Durham Prison a few months ago, out
of 600 male prisoners only 36 males qualified to go on an accredited
course and out of 100 female prisoners only 36 qualified. In other
words, all the rest were not in prison long enough to go on a
course, so they were ignored.
(Mr Narey) That is the picture in Durham, Mr Steinberg.
If you went next door to Frankland in your constituency you would
find all the prisoners able to do accredited courses.
25. In Frankland somebody was doing an accredited
course but they are not going to reoffend because they are in
jail for 26 years. They are going to be a success rate because
two years after they are still going to be in prison
(Mr Narey) We measure success from the date of release
not from the date of doing the course.
26. You have got a hell of a long time to wait
for that prisoner before you see whether it has been a success
(Mr Narey) With some prisoners serving very long sentences
it is important to do that. With sex offender treatment programmes
it is very important to do what we call a core programme and then
follow that up some years later with the extended programme.
27. But the point I also want to make is that
in terms of your accredited courses, you claim successand
I am not disputing thatbut the fact is that the vast majority
of prisoners who actually do the accredited courses are serving
more than two years after they finish doing the course.
(Mr Narey) I am not sure what proportion is serving
two years after they have finished the course. I could try and
find that out for you.
28. I would be interested to find out how many
prisoners who have done an accredited course still have more than
two years to serve.
(Mr Narey) Even if that were the case I do not think
that means it is not a worthwhile investment.
29. I am not arguing that. Our figures are slightly
different but let's say 60 per cent are not going on a course.
Let me continue the bit I did with Durham. They showed me round
their re-settlement plan and what is happening there. This, if
I remember rightly, included an individual needs' assessment which
led to an individual intervention plan and that was given to all
prisoners serving 12 months or with 26 weeks to serve. So, in
other words, virtually every prisoner who was in the prison could
actually go on this particular re-settlement course and it led
to a job club. This job club was not accredited. It is something
that the prison does itself. I took notes when I was there and
when I saw this Report I thought, "I know a bit about this."
Not that I know very much about very much but this one I seem
to know. The assessment covered education, motivation, housing,
finance, relationships, addiction and employment. So all those
things were covered in this re-settlement plan and this job club
but it is not accredited and therefore you as the head of Prison
Service are not encouraging this sort of plan throughout the rest
of the prison regime.
(Mr Narey) That is not quite fair. What we are doing
is concentrating scrupulouslyand this Report makes plain
we are right to do soon what we believe will reduce offending
with offending behaviour programmes, but in addition there are
a host of other programmes which are springing up around the Service
some of which in due course will become accredited. What we are
about to publish is a framework for governors to give them advice
on the sort of thing which we think will be effective. I have
visited the job club at Durham as well and I think it is excellent
and there are very many similar job clubs like that elsewhere.
30. Are you prepared to encourage other prisons
throughout the United Kingdom to adopt similar schemes to that
run at Durham?
(Mr Narey) Last year I issued a direction to the Service
to encourage exactly thatto take the short-term prisoners
who could not go on courses and for us still to pick up issues
about employability, employment and tenancy, because for the prisoners
I have talked about, for whom I admit we do very little because
they are only with us number of weeks, that is still long enough
to lose a job and to lose a tenancy.
31. Do the accredited schemes that have been
approved cover the topics that I mentioned?
(Mr Narey) The accredited schemes tend to look at
cognitive skills and will tend to look at impetuousness, which
lies behind an awful lot of offending particularly by young men,
and for sex offenders they look at some of the twisted thinking
which lies behind some sex offending. For example, some paedophiles
will rationalise their behaviour by arguing that a child can (a)
consent to sex and (b) enjoy sex. It attacks that thinking and
tries to turn it round and correct it.
32. What you are saying is it does not cover
some of these things. Some of these things are very successful
in terms of what happens when they finish the course and leave
prison. I am a cynical bloke and I think they do these things
and they tell me it is successful but where are the statistics
to show us? If you take this Durham one, it is a great scheme
but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. How successful
is it? How can you tell me it is successful? They told me out
of 200 who had done the scheme, 34 per cent found a job. You just
said to the Committee 20 per cent.
(Mr Narey) 23 per cent nationally.
33. They are saying that 34 per cent found work.
That has got to be good.
(Mr Narey) It is very good indeed. I could point you
to another prison on the other side of the Pennines, Mr Steinberg,
where 44 per cent are leaving Thorn Cross and going into jobs
34. Are they accredited schemes?
(Mr Narey) No, they are not accredited schemes.
35. That is the whole point I am trying to make.
The whole Report seems to concentrate on accredited schemes which,
frankly, do not appear to be very successful but the figures seem
to have been manipulated to make them look successful. On the
other hand, I have given you an example and you have just thrown
an example back at me where you have said I can give you a better
scheme than that yet it is not accredited, it has not been used
(Mr Narey) We are not choosing between them, Mr Steinberg.
We have mentioned the effectiveness of the accredited schemes
36. How long does it take to get an accredited
(Mr Narey) Typically to develop and get it past the
Accreditation Panel between two and three years.
37. Yet a scheme like this can be set up pretty
(Mr Narey) It can and I am not discouraging schemes
like that. Indeed, I have just taken steps significantly to encourage
them, but they are two different things and we can have both and
need both. You are measuring the success of the scheme (and I
think it is a pretty good proxy) by getting people into jobs because
research suggests that those people going into jobs are less likely
to offend by a half. In the accredited programmes which are offending
behaviour programmes (and we have got lots of other programmes
as well) we measure their effectiveness as we have done with the
drugs treatment programmes by seeing whether or not people return
to crime. I do not think they are the panacea, I do not think
we have got a cure here, but we know from emerging research about
to be published in the Spring after independent evaluation that
reconviction rates from those people who have done these programmes
two years after leaving prison are significantly lower than we
would otherwise expect. That is not to suggest that we do not
need the re-settlement programmes as well. I desperately want
both and I have been very encouraging to Mike Newell, the Governor
of Durham, in expanding the job club there and have seen similar
38. Durham seems to be doing very well and it
has proved that again by showing that 30 per cent got interviews,
ten per cent went on to further education training and 100 per
cent got a New Deal appointment. So the success rate on that scheme
is very good but the point I am trying to get across is it should
be encouraged throughout the Prison Service and I am not sure
that it is being encouraged throughout the Prison Service. I think
a lot of governors, with great respect, are not as innovative
as the ones that we have in Durham, but I would not expect you
(Mr Narey) Having started my career there I might
agree with that! I can promise you that I am urgently encouraging
the expansion of those programmes. What I would say is the Prison
Service cannot do this by ourselves. We desperately need the help
of other agenciesthe Employment Service, the Benefits Agencyif
we are really going to make the impact which I believe we can.
39. I am very close to my time. It is a pity
you are not coming back again on Wednesday. In the recent HMI
Reportand I am sorry to go on about Durhamthe Chief
Inspector said the Prison Service "has a total obsession
with accredited, high-level courses only needed by and appropriate
to a few prisoners." What are your views on that statement?
(Mr Narey) I disagree with that statement. I have
had many discussions with the previous Chief Inspector and demonstrated
to him that that is not the case. We issued a Prison Service Order
last October on re-settlement, and the whole emphasis on the work
we have been doing recently has been to build on accredited programmes
and to expand them. Our emphasis has been, for example, with the
Employment Service, putting up electronic job kiosks in prisons
so that people many miles from their home town can find out what
is in their own job centre. We place a huge emphasis on getting
people into jobs and into accommodation because I believe that
is vital. We are not choosing between one and the other. What
I would like to do in every prison is to have accredited programmes
and the sort of re-settlement initiatives that run so well at
Durham and also at Low Newton.
Mr Steinberg: Thank you.
Chairman: George Osborne?
3 Ev 24, Appendix 1. Back