Raab says 'green' prison will teach inmates skills to get into work

6 November 2021, 09:39

By Charlotte Lynch

The Justice Secretary has told LBC a new prison - which will house more than a thousand inmates in Leicestershire - will focus on giving them skills to get jobs once they are released.

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LBC joined Dominic Raab on a visit to Glen Parva, which is in the final stage of construction.

Technology within the cells will allow offenders to complete courses to improve their numeracy and literacy.

They will also be able to complete their driving theory tests from within their cell, which would pave the way for them to go on to a role within the HGV industry.

Workshops will allow offenders to get skills in building, plumbing and carpentry, and employers will be invited to attend the prison to discuss career opportunities with inmates.

Read more: Raab: Ex-cons will be trained to pull pints to help hospitality 'thrive' this Christmas

Read more: Raab: Bring in prisoners to solve HGV driver shortage, not 'cheap' foreign workers

Dominic Raab signalled he wants to completely change the way prisoners are viewed by employers and members of the public, describing them as "committed, dedicated and promotable".

He told LBC employers like Greene King, Greggs and Halfords have reported positive experiences of employing ex-offenders.

Mr Raab told LBC: "There is a real opportunity here - we have some skills shortages and they can help plug those.

"Critically, it's essential to helping offenders turn their lives around, and that cuts crime.

"We're having a step-change of encouraging employers to come in and use the skills, and frankly the motivation, of inmates".

Mr Raab said inmates will be vetted first, to ensure they are willing to have a "second chance".

When complete, Glen Parva will be the greenest prison in the UK, being built sustainably and reducing emissions by 35% compared to HMP Berwyn in North Wales which was opened four years ago.

It will also be a stepping stone to the next four new prisons which have been specially designed to cut carbon emissions by at least 85% – ultimately saving 280,000 tonnes of carbon and slashing energy bills by £100 million.