Local businesses were invited to get involved with HMP Highpoint to work together to reduce reoffending at a recent bestofhaverhill event held at Days Inn Haverhill.
Lisa Haworth, Industries Manager and Steve Phillips, Head of Reducing Reoffending from HMP Highpoint presented an interesting insight into the prison and described how they were already working with businesses in the area.
Steve explained that HMP Highpoint is like a village, the C Category male prison has over 1300 prisoners, 600 staff and 200 service providers. There is a diverse age and cultural population with a wide range of offences from life to petty offences.
Several factors have been identified as having a major influence on the likelihood of reoffending. These include availability of accommodation upon release; employment, training and education; finance and debt; attitudes, thinking and behaviour; drugs and alcohol and health.
Lisa and Steve then spoke about the Employer Engagement Strategy. This was established in April 2011 with the aim of reducing reoffending by seeking links with organisations that could provide employment for offenders on release or work with the prison in other ways to help rehabilitate prisoners.
Some of the businesses already working with HMP Highpoint include UK Power Networks who have donated equipment such as a Mini Digger and Spray Paint equipment which can be utilised in the New Roads and Streetworks training courses offered to prisoners. They also offer opportunities for employment on release including an apprenticeship scheme.
A National Builders Merchants supply raw materials, such as paint which is unsalable but perfectly acceptable for use on the Construction Skills courses as well as opportunities for prisoners to work on day release with them, known as Release on Temporary Licence. A number of other national companies have also all offered Release on Temporary Licence placements to prisoners.
Rachael Ager from Vulchem Hygiene Supplies was asked to share how her company were going to get involved with the scheme. Rachael explained that Vulchem had offered to support the Cleaning workshop run by the prison. They were going to talk about what it’s like to work in the hygiene supplies industry and to give product training on the usage of different cleaning materials.
Local businesses were invited to attend the next Employer Forum which is taking place at HMP Highpoint on 14th June.
Elaine Carr, owner of thebestofhaverhill comments, “This was an interesting topic and I’m glad that Lisa and Steve were able to talk to us. I know they were very pleased with the positive response received from the businesses who were at the event.
There are so many different ways that businesses can help. Many companies are unable to offer jobs or work placements but they may have skills which they can share or materials which may actually be scrap to them but would be welcomed by the prison for use in their courses. I encourage local businesses to attend the next forum on 14th June and see if there is anyway, however small, that they can get involved.”
Please contact Lisa Haworth on 01440 743219 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01440 743219 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to book your place or find out more about the forum.