Recycling Lives supports new prisons policy

Recycling Lives has welcomed new plans to improve employment opportunities for men and women leaving prison.

The justice secretary, David Guake MP, today (May 24) announced plans to introduce an education and employment strategy to improve prisoner’s skills ahead of release. He is also proposing more men and women are able to undertake Release On Temporary License (ROTL) work placements – commonly known as day release. It is hoped the drive would enable significant savings on the £15bn cost of reoffending annually.

Recycling Lives is already offering training and employment opportunities for offenders, last year saving the UK taxpayer £2.7m by reducing reoffending rates. Working in nine prisons across the UK with more than 200 men and women, its HMP Academies programme offers opportunities for offenders to develop skills while undertaking recycling and fabrication work and earning an enhanced wage.

Of the more than 175 men and women released from Recycling Lives programmes since 2015, two-thirds have been supported into employment and just four have reoffended.

Compared to national figures, showing that just one-in-ten offenders enters employment on release from prison but up to two-thirds reoffend – Recycling Lives results are significant; making it the most effective programme of its kind in the UK.

Alasdair Jackson, CSR & Sustainability Director for Recycling Lives, said: “We’re encouraged by today’s announcement from David Guake on improving opportunities for offenders and incentives for businesses to employ ex-offenders.

“Along with many other socially-minded companies, Recycling Lives recognised years ago that by creating better employment opportunities for ex-offenders, millions of pounds can be saved. These savings can then be put to other uses, such as improving the NHS.

“Our model shows the enormous social and business benefits of giving chances to ex-offenders – we record significantly reduced reoffending rates and have a highly skilled and dedicated workforce.

“We would welcome the opportunity to show Mr Guake and his colleagues our work and to discuss rolling this out in many more prisons.”

Recycling Lives is a unique organisation combining commercial operations in the recycling and waste management sector and its own social enterprise and charity. Its HMP Academies programme is unique in offering employment, through-the-gate and accommodation support to offenders. Many of its participants move into employment with Recycling Lives Ltd, the commercial business, or are supported to take up placements and employment with other companies, including regional, national and blue-chip businesses.

Preston-based Recycling Lives operates nine recycling sites nationwide, managing waste contracts for major national businesses. It was recently named Recycling Business of the Year and this year won its third Queen’s Award.

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