The Clink: Changing attitudes, transforming lives and creating second chances
Ahead of his session at TAI 2018 Chris Moore tells us a bit more about the work of The Clink to rehabilitate through education. At TAI 2018i he'll be telling us more about what housing can learn from The Clink's approach
Today’s challenge is that there are 86,413 adults in prison in England & Wales (82,403 men and 4,010 women). Sadly 44% of them return to prison within the first year of release and for those who serve sentences under 12 months this increases to 59% (Bromley Briefings Prison fact file –Summer 2017).
Since launching the first Clink Restaurant at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) High Down in 2009, we now have seven training projects which achieve outstanding results. We are a registered training provider that is accredited to deliver City & Guilds NVQs. We had a positive HM Chief Inspector of Prisons / Ofsted inspection at HMP Brixton in January 2017 where they said “The Clink continued to be an impressive training area”.
The prisoners at each of The Clink projects work a 40-hour week whilst working towards gaining their City & Guilds NVQs in Food Preparation, Food Service, Food Hygiene and or Horticulture. Simulating a professional working environment, prisoners with 6 to 18 months of their sentence left to serve volunteer for the programme, going through full-time training in order to reach the required level to succeed in their respective industry.
The Clink has trained over 1,800 prisoners since 2009. In 2016 we trained 384 prisoners. 138 prisoners were awarded their City & Guilds NVQ Level 2 certificates in Food Preparation and Cookery, Food and Beverage Service and in our gardens the prisoners have gained a Horticulture Diploma level 2 NVQ. Out of the 92 graduates ready for release, 89 of them entered into employment and three went into rehab. The remaining prisoners on the scheme will continue with their training until their release.
The successful reduction of reoffending has the availability of support and education at its core. We have made many commitments in this area which includes not seeing anyone sleeping rough upon release or having no food, electricity, gas and other life essentials whilst waiting for benefit support and reintegrating back into society. We are becoming the organisation who can, and will, find solutions whatever the challenge. Our service offers support across a number of areas including benefit application; housing assistance with the provision of temporary accommodation; rent and deposit where necessary; reintegration and possible relocation; managing sentence, release and licence restrictions; challenging local authority decisions; furnishing new accommodation with the basics; debt management and budgeting advice including setting up bank accounts and engaging with utility suppliers; family liaison work; mental health; substance misuse rehabilitation; sourcing further education – the list is extensive.
We have implemented a dedicated Support Worker Fund and Clink Bond Scheme to further assist those in financial need in the build-up to, and after, release. This has helped ex-offenders to carpet the concrete floors of their accommodation, pay for driving lessons so they can get to work, buy chef whites and clothing for interviews, childcare vouchers – the list continues to grow.
In November 2016, Justice Data Lab (JDL), run by the Ministry of Justice, conducted an audit of the outcomes achieved by The Clink from 2010 to 2014. The results of the report were outstanding.
The report found that people participating in The Clink’s training scheme are 40.9% less likely to reoffend within a year of release compared to non-participants in a group of similar people. The Justice Data Lab Synthesis and Review of Findings, published in September 2016 by Middlesex University London note that very few interventions have achieved such a positive outcome in a JDL analysis.
We are confident that the 2017 JDL review of The Clink Charity will show further reductions as we continue to expand The Clink concept across the prison estate, in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service