Crime prevention charity gets govt funding to expand into 25 prisons

The Clink training kitchen scheme is set to be expanded to 25 jails by the end of the year, Prisons Minister Alex Chalk has announced.

The programme, which is already running at eight prisons including HMPs Bristol, Downview, and Styal, sees prisoners train in professionally-run prison kitchens for up to 35 hours a week – preparing and cooking thousands of meals daily – while simultaneously working towards professional qualifications which will help them find employment on the outside.

The Clink said it has already helped over 2,500 offenders into stable and secure jobs since launching just over a decade ago through their training initiatives, with the expansion announced expected to support a further 2,000 prisoners into employment.

“Prisoners with a job on release are far less likely to reoffend – meaning if we can provide the path to employment, we can make our communities safer," Prisons Minister, Alex Chalk, said.

“As we continue to build back safer from the pandemic, it is absolutely vital that we continue to address the root causes of crime by supporting offenders to turn their lives around – and this scheme will do precisely that for thousands of ex-prisoners.”

The Clink trained up over 440 prisoners in 2019 – a total of 330,000 training hours – with over 280 employers across the country taking on Clink graduates upon release from prison.

Research shows that ex-offenders in work are more likely to turn their backs on crime for good, with prisoners who have taken part in The Clink’s training scheme almost a third less likely to go on to commit further offences.

The Clink chief executive Christopher Moore added: “The roll-out of The Clink Kitchens project over the next three years to 70 prisons in England and Wales, will enable us to continue to repair society and support the hospitality industry that has a major skills shortage.”

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