December 5 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, July 20, 2013
An IT recycling scheme aimed at helping to give prisoners the skills to find jobs – and cut reoffending when they are released – has been launched at Norwich prison by justice secretary Chris Grayling.
Mr Grayling, who earlier this month announced that HMP Norwich was to be part of a network of resettlement prisons designed to transform the way offenders are rehabilitated, visited the Knox Road jail yesterday to see for himself how prisoners could benefit from the new scheme.
Run by Green Duck, a Bury St Edmunds-based IT recycling business, in partnership with the prison, the scheme sees prisoners helping to strip components from electrical items, such as ink jet cartridges, which would otherwise find their way into landfill.
Initially 12 prisoners have been trained to take part in the project, for which they can get paid up to £10 a week, with hopes that 50 will have the skills to take part by the end of the year.
Mr Grayling, who cut the ribbon at the on-site workshop to officially launch the scheme, said it was a “good initiative” and was “exactly the sort of thing we need the prison service to be doing”.
He said: “Getting offenders in our prisons, and here in Norwich Prison, involved in doing constructive work – learning skills I hope will be transferred outside into real employment opportunities – is a fundamental part of cutting reoffending.”
Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP, who accompanied Mr Grayling on the visit, said she was “really proud” of Norwich prison for being forward thinking enough to be involved in the initiative which she described as a “really important scheme”.
Prison governor Will Styles said it was a “really exciting” venture with the private sector.
He said: “We’re really on board with the government’s agenda in terms of giving prisoners really meaningful activities that will help them with a chance of getting a job and a roof over their head because we know if they can do that they’re less likely to commit crime.”
Christopher Dunn, 30, who is on remand at Norwich prison, said: “It helps you in a lot of ways really. It saves you sitting in your cell all day and helps get you into a routine.”