Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, will change the definition of prisons from simply housing prisoners. They would be designated as places for “reform and rehabilitation .
Prison governors will be given authority to create education and training opportunities with leading employers, in order to help prisoners get jobs once they are out of prisons.
Prisons will receive more rigorous inspections from a new inspectorate; and league tables will identify those failing to deliver.
Miss Truss has stood firm against calls including from her predecessors Ken Clarke and Michael Gove to cut the prison population and give people shorter sentences.
She says people who have committed serious crimes should be behind bars, and that since the 1990s it is welcome that more people are being jailed for sex offences and child abuse.
But funding cuts have seen the number of prison officers slashed by around 6,000 since 2010, although the Government is trying to hire another 2,500 with the offer of a pay rise.
Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “Prisons must reform offenders, but these proposals are an inadequate response to a serious situation.”