THE GOVERNMENT is being urged to back plans to build centres of excellence to help train ex-offenders in construction skills.
Bobby Cummines, chief executive of Unlock, the national association of ex-offenders, has gained £285 million in backing from a private developer to help train lower-risk prisoners.
He said: 'There's a virtuous circle. Prisoners get training, the industry gets skilled people and the Government gets the prison population down.' Unlock wants the National Offender Management Service to release land for the centres but approval is being delayed by a stalled merger between the prison and probation services.
See Agenda, pages 12-13