Tech4PrisonLeavers” launches with Digital Poverty Alliance supporting men leaving prison with digital skills

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London, 10 June 2022 – The Digital Poverty Alliance and Intel have partnered with Trailblazers Mentoring Charity to launch “Tech4PrisonLeavers”, a scheme which provides young-ex offenders with access to technology and digital skills.

The campaign is set to provide a group of 25 men leaving Her Majesty’s Young Offender’s Institution at Brinsford prison in Wolverhampton with devices, connectivity, skills and mentoring in order to give them better access to employment opportunities and life skills upon release.

The scheme is aimed at men only, as they make up a vastly disproportionate amount of the prison population in the UK at nearly 95%. Furthermore, multiple studies have shown that re-entry into society is far more challenging for young male adults, and this group is repeatedly forgotten about, and not equipped with enough support after leaving prison.

In fact, previous research highlighted that 40 per cent of young men released from prison into the community do not have access to education or training, whilst 47 per cent are without access to the internet.

The scheme, brought to life by $150,000 of funding from Intel, will provide dedicated support for young people within their first year of leaving prison. The impact of the project will then be evaluated by the Institute for Community Research and Development at the University of Wolverhampton.

Following the scheme, Digital Poverty Alliance will share their findings with the Government in order to showcase the impact of tackling digital poverty, observing factors such as re-offending rates, with a view to a wider roll out program in future.

The Digital Poverty Alliance are also working with a coalition of partners, including Vodafone, CGI, Nacro, iDEA, Capgemini and We Are Digital. Together they will be providing practical assistance through devices, data, training and mentorship.

Elizabeth Anderson, COO at Digital Poverty Alliance, said:

“There are currently 6,500 people who leave prison every year and the re-offending rate for young people in the 18-25 age bracket is 38.4 per cent. We believe that by tackling digital poverty among this cohort we can help people get back on their feet and move forwards. We are proud to partner with Trailblazers and our coalition of supporting organisations to offer support to this group of young people.”

Paul Finnis, CEO of Digital Poverty Alliance, said:

“According to the Ministry of Justice, there is an £18 billion annual cost to the UK in re-offending rates. Our aim is not only to help these young men but also reduce the financial burden on the UK through a reduction in re-offending rates and associated costs.”

Julia Alexander, Acting CEO at Trailblazers Mentoring Charity, added:

“This project will allow us to continue offering ‘through the gate’ support, ongoing practical support and volunteer mentoring in the community for up to 12 months post-release.”

“We already saw in our previous work that re-offending rates for Trailblazers mentees is 8 per cent within one year of release and 10 per cent withing two years, verses a nation rate of 25.7 per cent in the first year of release for male offenders. We hope to further reduce these figures by reconnecting male offenders with the tools and support they need to be reintroduced to society.”

Amanda Hughes, Governor HMP & YOI Brinsford, said:

“Our priority is to successfully resettle young adults in the best possible way to prevent further re-offending. Digital technology is a key part of day-to-day living, it is important that this group are not left behind. This is an excellent initiative that we are delighted to be part of.”

ENDS

Support provided by each partner

Intel – Funding partner, strategic input, AI learning materials

Capgemini – Strategic support with dedicated digital advisors offering one-to-one sessions to outline training pathways

Vodafone – Strategic input, SIM cards and dongles

CGI – Group training sessions focusing on basic use of Office 365 and the Internet, access to CGI’s knowledge base, provision of ongoing support (helpdesk service) and funding for Office 365.

IDEA – Strategic input, access to Bronze/Silver/Gold badge system, discussions around bespoking and masterclasses

We Are Digital –one-to-one support across a number of digital skills training courses including a Skills Bootcamp in Digital Marketing with access to work opportunities.

Nacro – Nacro will provide expertise to the project board supporting the project to overcome the hurdles and barriers created by the complexities in the prison and probation systems, including supporting the project to work collaboratively with prison education and probation rehabilitative services providers. 

About the Digital Poverty Alliance

The Digital Poverty Alliance is a non-profit member organisation convening individuals from across business, government, charity, and education, with the sole aim of eradicating digital poverty in the UK and ultimately globally. The organisation works to convene and combine the multiple initiatives and research on digital poverty to create one national strategy.

About Intel

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to newsroom.intel.com and intel.com.

About Nacro

We believe your past shouldn’t dictate your future.

The people we help are at a point of change. Many have struggled; failed by the education system, growing up in care, facing homelessness or caught up in the tide of the criminal justice system. We believe that everyone deserves a good education, a safe and secure place to live, a chance to be heard, and the chance to start again, with support from someone on their side.

We provide practical help through our housing, education, criminal justice and substance misuse services, working closely with people to support them to build independence and to move forward to a better future. We’re compassionate but strong, determined but flexible. And we never give up on people. But this isn’t enough on it’s own. We need the barriers holding people back removed, and systems we rely on improved, to give everyone a fair chance.