A scheme linking prisoner behaviour to privileges is to be piloted in the Midlands.
The so-called “offender compacts” will be trialled at three prisons and a probation area, Prisons Minister David Hanson said.
The compacts require offenders to commit to rehabilitation or face penalties, also tying behaviour to privileges. In a written statement to MPs, Mr Hanson said: “In order to ensure appropriate behaviour offenders can earn access to certain privileges, particularly during their time in custody.
“These advantages must be earned and offenders must take responsibility for their behaviour and take the opportunities for reform offered to them through commitment, hard work and delivery against the aims of their sentence plans.”
The pilots will take place in HMP Drake Hall, HMP Shrewsbury, Brinsford Young Offenders Institution and a probation area in the West Midlands.
They will begin on July 21 and will run for an initial six months with the aim of being rolled out across all prisons and probation areas in 2009.
A new ‘end of custody report’, linked to the compact, will also be piloted for those serving less than 12 months.
These recognise positive behaviour and can be presented to employers on release.
Outside the Commons, Mr Hanson said: “As well as punishing offenders through prison and community sentences, we also give support opportunities to turn away from crime through education and training.
“But this is not a one way street. Offenders need to know that as well as being given the opportunity of rehabilitation they also have responsibilities which they must meet.
“It is vital that the public understands and has confidence in the basis on which offenders, especially those in custody, are granted access to certain privileges. Such privileges can and will be taken away if behaviour fails to meet certain standards.
“These new proposals will not only require offenders to demonstrate basic compliance, as is currently the case, but will now call on them to show commitment beyond this. They will be given set objectives.”