Yorkshire inmates to be offered training as chefs in bid to steer them away from life of crime

Yorkshire prisoners will be offered the chance to steer away from a life of crime by training to work in professionally run kitchens.

HMP Leeds

The Clink scheme, which already operates in eight prisons around the country, is being expanded to another 17, including Leeds, New Hall in Wakefield and Moorland in Doncaster.

In the programme, offenders train under professionals in prison kitchens for up to 35 hours a week while also working towards professional qualifications that will help them find employment after they leave jail.

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The Clink has already helped more than 2,500 offenders into stable jobs since its launch just over a decade ago.

Expanding it is expected to support a further 2,000 prisoners into employment.

In 2019, the scheme trained more than 440 prisoners – a total of 330,000 training hours – and more than 280 employers across the country took on Clink graduates on their release.

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

“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.”

Research shows that ex-offenders in work are more likely to turn their backs on crime for good.

Prisoners who have taken part in The Clink scheme have been shown to be almost a third less likely to go on to commit further offences, reducing the £18 billion a year cost of reoffending and keeping communities safe.

Over the next three years, the scheme will be rolled out to 70 prisons in England and Wales.