FORMER prisoners should not have to declare their criminal records when they first apply for jobs, a Welsh Government review of prisoner education has recommended.

The review, made by David Hanson MP and published on March 21, suggests a so-called “ban the box” approach could make it easier for reformed ex-inmates to avoid prejudice when they seek jobs.

“Currently, when someone applies for employment they must complete a section on their application that notifies the would-be employer as to their criminal record,” Mr Hanson’s review read. “It is clear that placing this requirement at such an early stage of the application process is not appropriate.”

The review, commissioned ten years after the devolution of prisoner education, covers Wales’ six prisons including HMP Usk and the nearby HMP Prescoed.

It said the Welsh Government and the UK prison service (HMPPS) shared a joint ambition to give all prisoners access to education and skills training to help them maintain employment on their release.

But many education targets for Welsh prisons are not being met, according to the review.

Although the number of prisoners starting educational courses is exceeding targets, the number who complete those courses falls short.

Just 54 per cent of inmates who start a course go on to achieve an accredited qualification. The government target is 70 per cent.

These figures are for the five state-run prisons in Wales – Parc Prison in Bridgend is managed by G4S.

The review suggested the Welsh Government support HMPPS in working with local authorities to ensure prisoners could continue their training after their release.

Job-seeking service Careers Wales should be fully-integrated into prisons, the review suggested, and courses to develop prisoners’ digital skills should be offered.

Female offenders are not kept in any Welsh prisons, but the review recommends they should be given the same access to opportunities as their male counterparts when they are released and return to Wales.

“Reoffending by those released from custody costs society around £15 billion per year,” Kirsty Williams, Wales’ education minister, said.

“Through effective rehabilitation, we hope to reduce re-offending and the number of victims of crime in the future.

“We know that providing access to good quality education, skills and employment is a major contributing factor to this, so it is imperative the Welsh government’s investment is creating the right opportunities and an effective pathway out of crime.”