The Learning and Skills department at Parc strongly believe that by engaging prisoners in education it is possible to change lives, build stronger individuals and alter people’s futures.

The high-quality opportunities provided are not only relevant to a learner’s social and emotional needs but also to securing future employment on release.

We offer an extensive curriculum that caters for a wide range of ability from entry levels to Open University degrees, from English for foreign nationals to those who need specialised support for learning difficulties. Whatever the level we encourage our students to use their time with us constructively in an environment that is both supportive and accessible. The education department is embedded across the prison estate and is part of a ‘joined up’ approach to rehabilitation. It offers parallel career opportunities throughout the prison leading to higher level qualifications and ample opportunity for self-development and change. As well as a large faculty of staff we also employ prisoner mentors through such organisations as Shannon Trust.

The recent Estyn inspection affirmed Parc in its endeavours, both for the Young Person’s Unit and the adult estate, stating that the prison had created a positive learning environment that matched the needs of those in our care. It noted there were high expectations in relation to prisoner engagement and progression, with a very clear aim to reduce re-offending. It also pointed out that overall success rates across the estate were consistently strong and that the prisoners’ learning journey was well supported. It recognised the availability of a broad range of employment and educational provision that provided clear routes for progression both within and beyond the prison. This includes establishing links with a helpful range of local businesses that are committed to the support of prisoners on release.


We recognise that many prisoners arrive into prison with undiagnosed learning difficulties –LD (up to 30%). We have created a specialised unit called Cynnwys that creates an environment where those with LD can develop strengths that enable them to achieve outcomes, both positive and personal . This will assist them in leading meaningful lives in which they can thrive. Dedicated staff provide a tailored, person-based service that is underpinned by sensitivity and an understanding of those who require a level of assisted living. This service aims to meet a range of diverse needs in a holistic and evidence based manner. It also supports men to integrate within the prison environment and enables them to meet their sentence targets leading to rehabilitation into the community. Parc is one of a handful of prisons in the UK to have been awarded Autism Accreditation from the National Autistic Society.

The Cynnwys Unit
Cynnwys logo



To contribute to the provision of a safe and secure environment that reduces reoffending, supports rehabilitation and provides a positive and enabling environment, which offers individuals the opportunity to maximize their potential and motivates change.

harm reduction_HMP Parc

How will we achieve this?

The provision of a safety team is a key stabiliser of any community in providing a holistic trauma-informed strategy that enables a coordinated approach to promote safety and reduce the number of individuals engaged in harmful behaviours.

  • Adopting procedural justice approaches to promoting safety and decency
  • Identification of risk and individualised care planning
  • Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) trauma-informed approach embedded in all harm reduction practice and policy
  • Providing a range of holistic interventions and support networks tailored to respond to individual needs.
  • Provision of specialist units which meet identified population needs
  • Developing skills, confidence and capability of staff through additional targeting training and learning in theories of violence and harm to self.
  • Creating purposeful communities and activities.
  • Provision of faith and pastoral care to all residents
  • Provision of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy that is tailored to individual need


Measurements of Succcess

Improved safety outcomes for staff, residents and visitors

Positive inspection and
audit outcomes

Reduction in the number of harmful behaviour
and associated incidents

Examples of good practices

Positive engagement and community based solution planning


At Parc the vocational training and industries hub provides a wide range of employment and training opportunities for our prisoners where they can learn and develop new skills linked to employability.

Local labour market information is used to inform new initiatives and opportunities. Ultimately, we aim to give our men a skill that will support them with the rehabilitation process and help them into employment on release, thereby reducing the likelihood of re-offending. They have the opportunity to gain recognised and Industry specific qualifications with transferable skills which also benefit them whilst in prison, as an example a prisoner who has completed a ‘British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICS) course can demonstrate and develop their skills while being employed to clean the prison.
vocation training parc prison
Vocational workshops available include:
  • Bricklaying
  • Carpentry
  • Painting & Decorating
  • Rail Training
  • Bicyle Maintenance
  • Printing
  • Catering (with Aramark)
  • BICS
  • Health & Safety and CSCS
The industry workshops provide an excellent opportunity for prisoners to gain experience of factory type work on assembly lines, they can also gain NVQs and health and safety qualifications whilst earning a wage and developing a healthy work ethic.
Employability is embedded in all initiatives and prisoners can access guidance to employment including business plans, writing CVs and developing entrepreneurism, the Virtual Campus platform is available to all to expand and further develop learning. During the last 6 months of their sentence, they can attend jobs fairs and employer engagement events to arrange interviews for jobs prior to release. Parc has developed an extensive list of supporting community employment and education partners to assist with employment and further education on release.
Physical Education and Sports Facilities
Parc has one of the most extensive physical education and gym provisions of any prison in the country. Its award winning facilities include a large indoor sports hall, various training rooms and 2 3G Astroturf football pitches. Prisoners can gain various qualifications in personal training and healthy lifestyle as well as take part in community partnership projects such as ‘Get Started in Football’ and ‘Get Started in Rugby’ delivered by Cardiff City Football Club and Newport Dragons Rugby Club and the Prince’s Trust. Parc is also one of the first prisons in the country to operate the ‘Parkrun’ scheme that can be continued upon release into the community. In addition there is a full recreational PE timetable.
The Sign & Print Shop
First established in 2014 as a pioneer venture, the Sign & Print shop has expanded over time, becoming a competitive and successful commercial workshop with state of the art facilities offering an extensive range of products including keyrings, banners, mouse-mats, t-shirts, mugs, canvasses, health and safety signage as well as all paper print needs.


At Parc, we strive to rehabilitate and bring about change to the adults and young people in our care, in order for them to actively play a positive role in society upon release. We recognise that feeling ostracised is often at the root of criminal behaviour and we therefore encourage every opportunity for involvement with the community in order to nurture a sense of belonging and inclusion. Here are a few examples
  • We have developed a very successful Employment Pathway where long-standing links with local businesses frequently lead to jobs.
  • We routinely host ‘Job Fairs’ where prisoners can meet potential employers prior to their release. 
  • We deliver a wide range of recognised and valued qualifications for use in the workplace such as a Personal Track Safety course for Railtrack,  certificates in British Institute of Cleaning Science and a Level 1, City and Guilds in Bricklaying to name but a few.
  • We encourage our men to actively take part in local fundraising for charities. Last year prisoners at Parc raised over £7,000 for both established and personal causes.
  • We have developed long-standing partnerships with The Duke of Edinburgh Awards, The Prince’s Trust , Cardiff City Football Club Foundation, Newport Dragons Rugby Club, Cardiff Street Doctors to name but a few.
  • We have developed strong links with prisoner’s families in association with Barnardos, the Scouts Movement and the south Wales Fire Brigade.
  • We have developed the School’s Accord to provide all round support for prisoner’s children.
Our goal is to rehabilitate offenders and release men as responsible citizens back into society. There is no easy fix or‘one size fits all’ solution to rehabilitation so we provide an integrated approach in which community engagement plays a central role.
community engagement


Young people in the criminal justice system will often themselves have been the victims of crime and will often have a history of exposure to violence, sexual/physical/psychological abuse, neglect and criminal behaviour. These adverse childhood experiences (ACE) or traumatic events, often occur frequently from a young age and can have a significant impact on development, maturity and behaviour. When young people enter custody, they may feel overwhelmed, frightened and disorientated.

Our vision is to create an environment for young people to be safe, develop resilience and have access to help and support throughout their time with us.

Through supportive relationships, we will build respect, trust and provide positive experiences of work and leisure. We will strive to protect the rights of young people and help them to navigate barriers to achievement, promoting the strengths that enable young people and their communities to thrive. To support our vision, we have developed a trauma-informed workforce, with the development and maintenance of good positive relationships at the heart of our approach, playing a pivotal role in creating meaningful change for young people.

The recent Estyn Inspection 2019 found the education delivered in the Young Person’s Unit to be outstanding, receiving ‘Excellent’ in all areas.

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