Published 26 February 2020.
A collaborative initiative between DE&S and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is helping to up-skill hundreds of prisoners, aiding their prospects of gaining employment on release and lower the risk of re-offending.
Project Claustrum is a collaboration between the Operational Infrastructure (OI) Team in the Land Equipment Operating Centre at DE&S and New Futures Network, HMPPS – part of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). The two parties work together to deliver mutual benefits to the UK taxpayer, both in terms of savings to the MOD and reducing the risk of reoffending upon release.
Since its inception in 2014, Project Claustrum, Latin for prison, has been responsible for the upskilling of hundreds of prisoners at HMP Lindholme, near Doncaster, in engineering and woodwork. Individuals involved in the work are risk-assessed, and they have spent around 190,000 manhours to refurbish 1,540 flat racks for use with the Demountable Rack Offload and Pickup System (DROPS) and Enhanced Pallet Load System (EPLS) vehicles. These DROPS and EPLS are used by the Armed Forces to supply equipment on operations both here and overseas. By refurbishing this equipment, rather than buying new, its estimated that the MOD has saved the taxpayer more than £2m to date.
“Through Claustrum, I’ve seen for myself that a lot of people end up in prison due to a lack of education, family support or by making poor life choices. With the right support and training many of them can go on to lead better lives and I’m proud that Claustrum can play a part in this rehabilitation”
Diana Allpress has been managing Project Claustrum from the very beginning and has seen first-hand the benefits of the project.
She says: “Evidence shows that having sustainable work on release from prison significantly reduces reoffending and the aim is to give these men the confidence and technical skills to secure gainful employment and stay out of jail.
“Through Claustrum, I’ve seen for myself that a lot of people end up in prison due to a lack of education, family support or by making poor life choices. With the right support and training many of them can go on to lead better lives and I’m proud that Claustrum can play a part in this rehabilitation,” she added.
The scheme is being run across 26 prisons in England and Wales and work includes the preparation and repair of toolkits and the refurbishment of jacks that were previously deemed Beyond Economic Repair — saving the MOD 50 per cent compared to buying new. They also manufacture camouflage nets, target boards, wooden pallets, hessian and polypropylene sandbags and a range of engineering products.