Neil questioned Justice Ministers on the proportion of prisoners who are currently illiterate and what steps the Department can take to improve literacy rates among inmates.
Neil: What proportion of prisoners are illiterate.
Liz Truss (Secretary of State for Justice): Fewer than half of the people entering prison have basic standards of English and maths. This is a huge problem because we know that low levels of education can prevent people from securing jobs on release and leading law-abiding lives.
Neil: The Secretary of State is quite right to say that both literacy and numeracy are essential to getting a job. Should we not therefore put more resources into educating prisoners on release so that they are able to get jobs?
Liz Truss (Secretary of State for Justice): My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The fact is that too many people enter our prisons without those skills. We need to use their time in prison to help them to gain the basic skills so that they can succeed outside. We have started measuring prisoners’ skills by testing them as they enter prison. I am keen to see that we measure real progress made during prisoners’ stay in prison and hold governors accountable for that.
You can watch Neil's question at this link: