Over the next three years, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) and The Clink charity have agreed to extend their training programme, currently already operating in HMPs High Down, Cardiff, Brixton and Styal, to offenders working in an additional 70 prison kitchens.
Following successful pilots, training will continue at HMPs Bristol and Styal and from the end of April they will be first joined by Eastwood Park, Send and Downview with a steady further rollout creating opportunities to help as many as two thousand offenders into employment and away from crime for good.
Boosting access to work and safe accommodation for prison leavers will also help build back safer communities by cutting crime and reducing reoffending, which costs the taxpayer £18bn each year.
Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer MP said, “This expansion of the catering programme is testament to the thousands of training and job opportunities it has provided for offenders over the years.
“Cutting reoffending and its vast cost to society is a priority for this government. Training within prison leads to employment on release, which we know has such a positive impact on ex-offenders, their families and communities, and ultimately reduces crime.”
The Clink’s training scheme is proven to significantly cut rates of reoffending, with offenders 32% less likely to go on to commit further crimes compared to those who did not receive training. This success means for every £1 invested, The Clink Charity is likely to generate at least £4.80 back to the prison service, Government and society in reduced reoffending rates.
The expansion to more prisons marks a new era for the partnership with HMPPS, which over a decade has helped more than 2,500 ex-offenders find employment.
The training sees serving prisoners work in professionally run kitchens for up to 35 hours a week, preparing and cooking up to 80,000 daily meals for fellow prisoners. Trainees will work towards gaining City and Guilds National Vocational Qualifications Levels 1, 2 and 3, while improving their confidence, teamworking and communication skills.
The scheme will be funded entirely by The Clink through generous donations from many organisations and supporters.
Finlay TK Scott, Chairman of The Clink Charity, said, “Reducing crime and improving all of our lives is at the heart of what The Clink does. This latest initiative in partnership with HMPPS underlines the tremendous impact The Clink program has had over the last ten years.
“We will build upon the success of our innovative integrated program and roll it out across the prison estate. This platform will dramatically increase the number of students we are able to rehabilitate with the subsequent impact upon reoffending figures.”