Pentonville Prison careers advisors to be laid off in ‘short-sighted’ decision
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Three “vital” careers advisors at Pentonville Prison are set to be laid off at the end of the week.
The Ministry of Justice is not renewing its contract with the Education and Skills Funding Agency, and the advisors could become redundant on Saturday.
Islington MPs Emily Thornberry and Jeremy Corbyn both spoke out against the cull this week. Ms Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury MP since 2005, has previously made numerous representations about the state of the crumbling Victorian jail in Caledonian Road.
She told the Gazette: “I have made my views clear many times on the desperate and dangerous state of Pentonville, and the Tory government’s total failure to do anything about it.
“But it just adds insult to that injury for them to get rid of staff at Pentonville – and across the country – whose job is helping inmates to plan and train for lives outside prison, where they can get jobs and make a more positive contribution to our society and our economy.
“Whatever the government plans to do with the savings these redundancies will create, it is the definition of a false economy to make them by cutting back on staff who are trying to rehabilitate prisoners and make sure they do not re-offend after their release.”
Mr Corbyn, the Islington North MP and Labour Party leader, said: “It actually saves money to invest properly in good quality rehabilitation.”
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The advisors work with prisoners throughout their sentences, helping them gain access to education and often building connections with local employers.
Tom Schuller, chair of the Prisoner Learning Alliance, said: “This short-sighted decision will put further pressure on a system already under inordinate strain.
“We therefore call on the government to reconsider the cut to the National Careers Service in prisons, or to explain, as a matter of urgency, what will replace this vital service.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We are committed to providing education and training to deliver more effective rehabilitation to address the needs of offenders.
“We are reviewing options for alternative provision as part of wider employment services. This will give governors further control over how their education and training offer is delivered.”