Letter: Prison pay

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The Independent Culture
Prison pay

Sir: Lord Woolf's call for prisoners to be allowed to earn extra wages which can be used to compensate their victims ("Prisoners `must pay cash to victims' ", 11 August) tallies with existing Liberal Democrat policy.

The Party has called for more paid employment, including through contracts with the private sector, not only to provide funds to compensate victims, but also to provide meaningful work experience. Obtaining permanent employment is recognised as the most effective way of keeping an ex-offender out of crime but is an uphill struggle for many former inmates. However, employment experience on the inside would help with getting a job on the outside.

Less re-offending would mean fewer victims in the future. Currently, re-offending rates from prison are shockingly high with more than half of offenders returning to crime following release. Lord Woolf's proposal would not only provide assistance for victims but also could help to reduce crime rates.

RICHARD ALLAN MP

Liberal Democrat spokesman on home affairs

House of Commons

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