Prisoners turn the page thanks to an innovative agricultural program
The scheme, run at HMP Hewell in Worcestershire, is part of a landmark trial between the prison and agricultural technology company, LettUsGrow, which will see prisoners grow leafy greens, salad and herbs on farms. verticals” of high technology.
Vegetables are grown in compact towers aeroponics using an air or mist environment rather than soil.
At the cutting edge of agriculture, this advanced technology produces more plants, faster and with 98% less water than conventional methods.
Most importantly, the program will train inmates in the trades of the future, such as farm management software, plant science and food safety. This will help them find employment upon release in new and emerging technologies and significantly reduce their risk of reoffending.
This is just the latest step in the government’s strategy to ensure prisoners use their time behind bars to learn the skills they need to find work once through the door and back home. .
Minister of Prisons, Stuart Andrew, MP:
This innovative program is just the tip of the iceberg in our drive to equip inmates with the practical skills they need to gain employment upon release, which will reduce crime and ensure public safety.
Up there, along with education, family ties, and drug treatment, stable work is the key to a crime-free life and safer communities for all of us.
Ralph Lubowski, Governor of HMP Hewell:
I am delighted to partner with Lettus Grow in this fantastic initiative, which will give our prisoners the opportunity, confidence and training to turn their lives around.
Vertical farming is an emerging and innovative industry and this partnership underscores our commitment to ensuring inmates are qualified to find work after release.
Latest figures show the number of ex-offenders in work six weeks after release has risen by nearly half, while proven recidivism has fallen to just over 25% – making huge strides in tackling the £18billion cost of recidivism and public safety.
Notes to Editors
The latest statistics from the Department of Justice show that the proportion of those released who were employed within 6 weeks of their release increased by 6 percentage points to 16% between April 2021 and March 2021. This represents an increase of more than the half. (57 percent).
- New data shows that over the past 10 years proven recidivism has increased from 30.9% (2009/10) to 25.6% (2019/20).
- The Prisons White Paper – the Deputy Prime Minister’s strategy to reduce recidivism and keep the public safe – makes it a point to get prisoners working behind bars and getting them released.
- Learn more about LettUsGrow here