Plans to expand prison kitchen courses to cut reoffending

Flora Thompson, PA Home Affairs Correspondent

Catering courses will be rolled out in 70 more prison kitchens in a bid to cut reoffending rates.

The Clink Kitchens training programme will be expanded in England and Wales over the next three years as part of Government efforts to stop prisoners turning back to crime on release, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.

The scheme, which is funded through donations to the charity, is currently on offer in High Down, Cardiff, Brixton and Styal prisons.

From the end of April it will also be available at Eastwood Park, Send and Downview with more to follow to “help as many as two thousand offenders into employment and away from crime for good”, according to the MoJ.

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”, the department said.

HMP Send is joining the scheme (Jonathan Brady/PA)
HMP Send is joining the scheme (Jonathan Brady/PA)

It 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 inmates and working towards qualifications as well as boosting teamworking and communication skills.

Charity chairman Finlay TK Scott said the plans would “dramatically increase the number of students we are able to rehabilitate with the subsequent impact upon reoffending figures”.

Prisons Minister Lucy Frazer said the expansion was a “testament to the thousands of training and job opportunities it has provided for offenders over the years”, adding: “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.”

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