Reduce sentences for learning to read and write etc

David Seymour announced:

ACT has announced a policy of Rewarding Self-Improvement in Prison at today’s party conference.

“The cost of crime and the prison system is running away. This is largely due to a reoffending blowout which sees 48% of prisoners return within four years,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The fact is, a large chunk of the prison population simply lacks the skills to lead normal, productive lives. 60 to 70 per cent of prisoners lack the functional literacy required to read a tenancy agreement, an employment contract, or even the road code. It’s no wonder they return to crime after leaving prison.

“ACT believes that incentives matter; that individual responsibility works. Penalties should be tough on repeat offenders. But at the same time, prisoners need positive incentives to become productive, law-abiding citizens after their time in prison.

“Prisoners should be able to earn a reduction in their overall sentence by successfully completing literacy, numeracy, and driver licensing courses. This would provide an incentive for prisoners to upskill and ready themselves for a normal, non-criminal life outside of prison.

“The policy wouldn’t apply to the worst violent or sexual offenders. And it wouldn’t help white-collar criminals study for diplomas or degrees. Prisoners who are already literate, numerate, and licensed to drive could instead be eligible for incentives if they act as mentors to other prisoners, helping them earn qualifications.

“As seen in similar programmes overseas, this policy would save taxpayer money through reduced sentences and lower rates of recidivism.

Sounds like a great policy to me.

It has been praised by Kim Workman, the Sensible Sentencing Trust and the Howard League for Penal Reform.

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