New Construction Academy Opens At HMP Leeds

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

New Construction Academy Opens At HMP Leeds

New Construction Academy Opens At HMP Leeds

A new £250,000 construction academy has just opened at HMP Leeds as part of plans to equip Yorkshire-based offenders with the valuable skills they’ll need ahead of their release from prison.

It forms part of the Ministry of Justice’s offender work placement scheme, the New Futures Network, which has seen 230 more businesses join the scheme to hire ex-offenders one year on since the prison Education and Employment Strategy was launched.

A change in the rules has also been brought in that will allow prison governors more independent to grant release on temporary licences to people after a stringent risk assessment has been carried out.

This will mean there are more opportunities to work and train with employers while serving a sentence, increasing an offender’s chances of securing a job straight after being released.

David Gauke, justice secretary, also announced reforms to the probation system earlier this month (May) to make sure that rehabilitation, support into the workplace, treatment and accommodation is continued for former offenders after they leave prison.

These probation changes will also facilitate a move away from ineffective short prison sentences and allow for more effective treatments for problems like addiction and mental health conditions.

Research has revealed that time spent working in the community before being released will significantly reduce the likelihood of someone reoffending, helping to keep the general public safer and slashing the £15 billion annual cost to the taxpayer.

The New Futures Network, launched in October 2018, was designed to build partnerships between employers and prisons, filling in local skills gaps by providing job opportunities for those on release from custody. It will have an employment broker in every prison group by July this year.

“Broadening access to training and work opportunities is a vital part of our strategy to steer offenders away from a life of crime and ultimately keep the public safe. Many organisations are recognising the value of giving offenders a second chance, and we have carefully listened to their feedback before making these changes.

“I urge more businesses to join this movement and help ex-offenders turn their backs on crime for good,” Mr Gauke said.

According to The Construction Index, Kier is one of the first construction companies in the UK to support the initiative.

Operations director for Kier Housing Maintenance North Steve Mellor explained who pleased the company is that the government has chosen to launch this new academy.

He went on to say that Kier is now in discussion with HMP Leeds provide the likes of workshops, donations of surplus materials, offering mentoring and so on, as well as working to offer work experience placements to people released on temporary licenses.

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