Purposeful activity

Prisoners are able and expected to engage in activity that is likely to benefit them.

Time out of cell

All prisoners have sufficient time out of cell and are encouraged to engage in activities which support their rehabilitation.

Find out more about our expectations for time out of cell.

Education, skills and work activities

Expectations from the Ofsted, Estyn and Education and Training Inspectorate Northern Ireland inspection frameworks.

Find out more about our expectations for education, skills and work activities.

Please note: The expectations for Education, Skills and Work have been revised to incorporate Ofsted’s new inspection framework, which came into effect on 1 February 2020.

Human rights standards

The aim of prison to reform, rehabilitate and reduce recidivism is established in treaty law (ICCPR 10.3) and standards (SMR 4.1). These standards emphasise the need for education, vocational training and work, delivered in line with the individual treatment needs of prisoners, to achieve this aim (SMR 4.2; EPR 25.1, 27.5). Prison authorities have a positive obligation to provide equal access to programmes and activities, and specialised support where necessary (SMR 5.2, 42; EPR 25.3, 25.4). Human rights standards also call for a prison regime that seeks to minimise any differences between prison life and life at liberty that might lessen the responsibility of prisoners or the respect due to their dignity (SMR 5.1).