CFE submission to Parliamentary Justice Select Committee published

The Centre for Entrepreneurs recently submitted evidence on the efficacy of prison entrepreneurship to a Justice Select Committee inquiry on prison reform. The Committee is collecting evidence to inform and support the prison reform programme now being taken forward by the new Secretary of State for Justice, Elizabeth Truss MP. We are pleased to announce that our submission has now been published here

The Centre’s submission is based on the findings in its May 2016 report, From inmates to entrepreneurs: how prison entrepreneurship can break the cycle of reoffending, and addresses the relevance of entrepreneurship to topics including: the purpose of prison; the roles and responsibilities of prison staff; opportunities and challenges of the prison reform agenda; performance measures for the prison system, and Transforming Rehabilitation (TR) and criminal justice devolution.

Below is a brief summary of the recommendations contained in our submission:

  • Alongside existing initiatives, prisons should be equipping select prisoners with the right mix of skills, knowledge and motivation to work for themselves once released, primarily by commissioning externally provided “prison entrepreneurship programmes”.
  • Prison governors, prison officers and prison education staff should – in different ways – support the implementation of prison entrepreneurship programmes and work towards making their prisons more entrepreneurial. Specific training should be provided to help them do so.
  • Specific reforms that will enable more prisoners to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions, such as increased access to Release on Temporary License (ROTL) and ICT, and more balanced prison security requirements, should be implemented.
  • The key components of the prison reform agenda, such as reform prisons, empowered governors and the Coates review recommendations, must all play their part in unleashing the untapped entrepreneurial potential of the prison population.
  • In the announced “prison league tables” and any other future performance measures for prisons, self-employment and business creation among ex-prisoners should be tracked alongside traditional employment outcomes. In order to do this, data from the MoJ, DWP, HMRC and Companies House should be combined, as has been done previously.
  • Other positive outcomes from entrepreneurship training, such as improved self-esteem and motivation, positive behavioural change, and “intrapreneurship” in employment should be measured.
  • Transforming Rehabilitation must be reviewed to ensure that small voluntary and private sector organisations (including but not limited to prison entrepreneurship programme providers) are able to acquire enough work from the prime providers delivering the contracts. This does not appear to be the case so far.

If you have any questions or comments regarding our prison entrepreneurship research, please get in touch with CFE Lead Researcher Maximilian Yoshioka via maximilian@centreforentrepreneurs.org