UK inmates will be taught coding to prepare for their own release

The UK government has announced that inmates will be taught coding in preparation for life on the outside as part of a new initiative.

We all know digital skills open up opportunities and have become increasingly vital in today’s workforce. An organisation called CODE 4000 has received new funding to expand its work teaching ‘carefully-vetted’ offenders to code.

Neil Barnby, a workshop instructor at HMP Humber for CODE 4000, said:

“Code4000 workshops are reducing re-offending at a measurable rate because we keep in touch with our graduates. We are constantly seeing success after success. When I started teaching in prisons I thought that if I could change just one life, turn one person away from crime then I have achieved something truly marvellous.

I look back on the years that I have been teaching coding in prisons and can see all the lives I have had a part in changing for the better. Not just the ex-offenders but their families and, more importantly, their children. It is an enormous sense of achievement and with this funding I look forward to changing even more lives.”

The funding is part of a £1.2 million government package to help underrepresented groups get jobs in digital industries.

CODE 4000 will receive a £100,000 award that will help to fund a new employment hub in Sheffield, providing support, mentoring and training for graduates once they have left prison.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart commented:

“I want to see more offenders learning the kind of workplace skills which can set them on a path to a better future, which is precisely why we launched our Education & Employment Strategy last year.

Code 4000 is an excellent example of what can be achieved through education and training in prison. It not only helps offenders turn their lives around but also benefits society by reducing the chances of their reoffending, and I am delighted to see it receive this further funding.”

Reoffending is said to cost British society around £15 billion per year. Helping to put individuals on a brighter path by equipping them with the skills they need to succeed benefits everyone from the individual, their community, and the country at large.

Minister for Digital, Margot James said: “We have a world-leading digital economy and this new funding will help keep people out of prison so they can give back to their local communities as well as be a boost for our tech businesses.”

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