New data analysis from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Justice Data Lab (JDL) looked at male ex-offenders who had trained at The Clink Restaurants for between six to 18 months, at HMP High Down, HMP Brixton and HMP Cardiff.
They were then compared to similar ex-offenders who had not taken part in The Clink programme.
For each 100 typical people taking part in the programme, 17 went on to re-offend within a year, compared to 29 for each 100 not taking part. This represented a 41 per cent reduction in the likelihood of re-offending for those taking part in The Clink programme.
The study looked at male ex-offenders only, as the only Clink programmes yet operating within women’s prison ‒ the restaurant at HMP Styal in Cheshire, and The Clink Gardens at HMP Send – had not been open for long enough for the data to be valid.
The Clink currently operates six prisoner training and rehabilitation programmes, and is aiming to have 20 in operation by the end of 2020.
Employment with education
Commenting on the report’s findings, Chris Moore, chief executive of The Clink Charity, said: “The results of the JDL report provide statistical verification that the determined work of The Clink Charity is the right course to be followed if we are to continue to reduce reoffending rates in the UK.”
He explained that lack of education and employment prior to conviction were key factors in those who commit crimes, and that many prisoners lacked basic skills such as problem solving. Addressing these issues helped, he said.
He added: “[This is] why The Clink Charity has been built on an educational foundation that is assessed by OFSTED and adheres to the City & Guilds syllabuses. We have a team of support workers that mentor our trainees, prior to and following release, to help in securing accommodation and employment as part of their rehabilitation.
“With these systems in place, we expect to see our success grow further over the next 12 months.”
Qualifications and jobs
Founded by Al Crisci MBE and first opened at HMP High Down in 2009, The Clink now sees up to 160 prisoners training for 40 hours per week, offering them the change to gain accredited City & Guilds NVQ qualifications in Food Preparation, Food Service, and Food Hygiene.
It also sees its prisoners work at professional-level, operational restaurants that are open to the public but located within the prisons themselves – with four currently working in total alongside the event catering group Clink Events, and the Clink Gardens at HMP Send, which offers NVQs in Horticulture, as well as growing fresh produce for use in the restaurants.
The group also helps secure employment and accommodation for ex-offenders once they leave prison, and has appointed a number of chef and catering ambassadors in recent years, including Antonio Carluccio, Giorgio Locatelli, and Vic Laws.