Since opening our first HMP Academy in 2012, we’ve worked hard to grow our programme and impact, working in prisons across the North West and Midlands. We now (March 2021) operate eight HMP Academies, following some closures agreed with our partners in the prison service:
• HMP Dovegate – This Academy has now closed due to recategorization of the prison, from Category B local to Category B trainer. Previously, as a ‘local’ it had offenders serving sentences from remand to finishing long sentences. However, its new higher level of security means our offering is no longer an appropriate fit to their operations.
• HMP Thorn Cross – This was one of our first Academies and its closure feels quite bittersweet… Prison bosses at this Category D men’s prison are now seeking to focus on ROTL opportunities, to get more men out on ‘day release’. Temporary release is a really positive step, significantly reducing reoffending rates, and is an integral part of the government’s prisoner education and employment strategy. We’d worked in this prison since 2016, supporting hundreds of men, including dozens into ROTL placements with our partners, so we’re heartened that the impact we demonstrated is being rolled out further.
• HMP Wymott – The workshop for welding and fabrication has now closed. However, our other workshop in Wymott remains open and our other welding and fabrication workshop, in HMP Altcourse, remains open but has diversified its operations to build ‘modular’ components for a skips business.
• HMP Lincoln – Formerly a workshop to trial recycling the prison’s own waste streams.
All our other HMP Academies remain operational and the team have coped extremely well with the challenges created by lockdowns.
As ever, we’re continuing to explore new opportunities that create decent work and good environmental or commercial outcomes, while working within the parameters of all our stakeholders, from prisons to employers or businesses, and always in the best interests of the men and women we support.