Skip to main content

Special Educational Needs: Prisoners

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 235805, tabled on 22 March 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of the prison population have (a) a learning disability, (b) autism and (c) other special educational need.

Answered on

27 March 2019

Data on offender learning participation, and learner characteristics, is published by the Department for Education.

Data on learning difficulties and/or disabilities amongst those prisoners who engage in prison education is at: OLASS: participation and achievement by equality and diversity & English and maths level: 2010/2011 to 2017/18. Self-declared data on learning difficulties and/or disabilities gathered as part of the assessment of prisoners’ levels of maths and English on reception is at: OLASS English and maths assessments by ethnicity and learners with learning difficulties or disabilities: participation 2014/2015 to 2017/2018. The data consistently show that around one third of prisoners have a learning difficulty and/or disability.

In April 2016, the Department for Education published a breakdown of the type of learning difficulty and type of learning disability amongst prisoner learners for academic years 2011/12 to 2014/15. That data is at: Offender Learning breakdown by disability and learning difficulty 2011/12 to 2014/15.

From 1 April, prison governors will arrange for all new prisoners to be screened for learning difficulties and/or disabilities on reception. Following this, for those who go into learning and where screening indicates an issue, education suppliers will assess them to ensure the right adaptations and support arrangements are put in place.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.