Re-offense is a huge problem in the UK that you probably didn’t know about. Over 60% of people that go to prison end up re-offending, which is a huge proportion that costs the UK up to £10 billion each year.
One of the main problems we have is the transition from prison back to normal life. Many offenders go through prison without learning any life skills, both vocational ones for work or essential living skills that they have been missing during their time in prison. As a result, these offenders, frustrated with the system then go on to re-offend which puts them back in prison.
However, finally something is changing, thanks to HMP Academies, offenders are being taught the skills they need to get back on their feet and start a new life.
What is a HMP Academy?
But, what is a HMP Academy? Well these are workshops set up within HM Prisons that teach offenders valuable skills for when they are released from prison.
68% of prisoners feel that having meaningful employment once they are released is vital, therefore they need to be prepared for employment once they are released. During their time in prison, offenders are offered the chance to take part in vocational training that will not only help them in the future, but allow them to learn new skills in an area that they are interested in.
Some of the roles involved in the workshops are recycling and fabrication roles that are transferable in several roles across different sectors. So far, from people that have completed the programme, the re-offending rate is a miniscule 5% compared to the huge 60% average, so something must be working.
How the programme works
A system has been put into place to make the transition from prison to the real world as smooth as possible. That means that the prisoners are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to find a job and begin again. At the moment, the current system looks like this:
-Financial incentive: Offenders are offered work within the prison or released on a temporary license, this means that they are able to receive a wage. Part of this wage is also donated to the victim funds.
-Training and qualifications: If the offender is lacking qualifications in-order to find employment, training is given so that they have the skills and abilities to work once they are released.
-Transferable skills: As well as employment skills, the offenders are also taught valuable life and work-related skills so that they can apply for work with confidence.
-Accommodation: One aspect the prisoners thought was essential was living, therefore this system provides them with temporary accommodation whilst they get on their feet. This means they are able to register to receive post.
-Employment: Finally, and most importantly, the Academies help offenders find work after prison so they can begin to live a successful and meaningful life.
At the moment, this project is just getting off its feet, with 136 individuals being successfully rehabilitated in recent years. Hopefully this is only the beginning as it is clearly a way to progression that not only helps offenders find a new life, but also helps the country as it reduces crime rates and saves the tax-payer from paying out for more offenses.
But how does it grow? Fortunately, there are companies such as Car.co.uk that are contributing towards the funds and aid the organisations that create these HMP Academies. When people decided to take out insurance policies with the company, it means they can put more money into local schemes such as these. It’s a win win situation for us, cleaner streets and cheaper car insurance.