The Government has announced a review of learning for offenders in prisons and in the community, with the aim of making ex-prisoners more employable.
Official figures show half of men in prison and up to 70% of women have no qualifications at all, with two-thirds of prisoners having literacy levels below that currently expected of 11-year-olds.
Now the Government is looking at how to make the system more effective and how the courses on offer can better reflect the current skills gaps.
The review will involve all those within Government who are involved in offender learning, as well as charity and voluntary organisations. It will report back in the autumn as part of wider plans for reform and cost-saving across the sector.
Prisons minister Crispin Blunt said: “I welcome this review into offender learning. Prisons are places of punishment but they should also be places of education, work and training.
“Education leading to employment has a key role in helping to reduce re-offending, protecting the public and preventing people from becoming the victims of tomorrow.”