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'Operation Safeguard' will increase re-offending, warns UCU

11 October 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

UCU today warned that plans to transfer offenders from prisons to police cells or inadequate detention centres will increase re-offending rates.

UCU, which represents teachers who provide education and training for prisoners throughout England and Wales, made its warning on the eve of the start of 'Operation Safeguard' - Home Secretary John Reid's attempt to ease prison overcrowding by transferring some offenders to emergency accommodation.

UCU national official for prison educators, Christiane Ohsan 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. 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 reoffending 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.'