Thousands of prisoners trained to become cooks

  • more than 2,500 prisoners trained for employment through program to date helping to reduce crime
  • achievement marked by Jubilee tea served by inmate catering trainees

The number of Clink Kitchens, which train prisoners for hospitality jobs, has quadrupled since September 2021 as part of the government’s drive to reduce recidivism and make our streets safer.

The smashing result was celebrated by the Deputy Prime Minister and staff at a Platinum Jubilee-themed afternoon tea hosted by serving prisoners on the cooking programme.

It was prepared in one of the country’s newest Clink kitchens at HMP Exeter, which opened in March. This innovative program trains offenders in restoration so they can find work after release and turn their back on crime for good.

More than 2,500 prisoners have found jobs through The Clink Charity since it launched at HMP Brixton in 2014, with former offenders now working in restaurants ranging from chip shops to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Today (31 May 2022) the Deputy Prime Minister announced plans to double the number of Clink Kitchens again to 50 by the end of 2023, meaning thousands more offenders will go straight to work upon their release.

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State Dominic Raab said:

Programs like The Clink are training thousands of prisoners in catering and hospitality – to give them the skills to find work and turn their backs on crime.

I quadrupled the number of Clink kitchens operating out of our prisons, helping offenders stay on the straight and narrow and keeping our streets safer.

Since September last year, the deputy prime minister has overseen the opening of 20 Clink kitchens, bringing the total to 26 and exceeding the government’s commitment to open 25 more in the prison area.

The proportion of prison leavers working six months after release also increased by 9 percentage points, to 23% between April 2021 and March 2022.

The Clink Kitchens program trains prisoners in catering and hospitality skills behind bars, giving them work experience by cooking for other prisoners.

Clink Charity’s work has been proven to significantly reduce recidivism, ultimately creating safer streets, with participants 32% less likely to commit further crimes compared to those who did not receive training.

This success means that for every £1 invested, her work returns at least £4.80 to the Prison Service, government and society by reducing recidivism rates.

Clink Charity Chief Executive Yvonne Thomas said:

The Clink Charity, with the support of our charity funders and HMPPS, now offers over 400 prison training places, a number that is growing every month as we open more prison kitchens.

We will continue to help prisoners by training qualified reception staff and offering intensive support after their release. We are grateful to our donors, the employers we work with, and the Department of Justice for their continued support.

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.

In March, 20 major companies, including Lotus Cars and COOK, pledged to lead new Prison Employment Advisory Councils – acting as a link between prisons and employers to ensure offenders use their time in prison to learn the skills they need to find work. to the output.

Over the next 2 years, we will also:

  • Hire new education, labor and skills specialists to improve education and training in prisons to enable more offenders to work after release
  • Set up a new career innovation fund to help prisons work with more employers and meet the needs of local businesses and the economy and facilitate the transition from prison to employment
  • Revise literary education in prisons to improve the reading and writing skills of all offenders so that they are better placed to find employment.

Notes to Editors

  • The New Futures Network (NFN) is a specialist part of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). He brokers partnerships between prisons and employers in England and Wales. These partnerships help businesses fill skills gaps and help prison leavers find jobs.
  • By the end of 2023, the Clink Charity will train over 1,000 prisoners each year.
  • 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).

  • The proportion of those released who were employed at 6 months of their release increased by 9 percentage points to 23% between April 2021 and March 2022. This represents an increase of almost two-thirds (66%).


While incarcerated at HMP Bristol, The Clink helped Cody negotiate two Family Court cases and earn his Level 2 NVQ in Professional Cooking with Clink Kitchens. After his release, Cody saw his children regularly and worked as a kitchen porter at Bristol Zoo.


Hayden, 19, has enjoyed learning cooking skills through The Clink Kitchens training program, and The Clink has supported him through significant ADHD struggles. He is now employed as a kitchen porter and sees his young daughter regularly.


One of Clink Kitchens’ first graduates, Dan qualified in NVQ Level 2 Professional Cooking while serving his third term at HMP Bristol. With the help of Clink Support Workers, he finished his license for the first time in 15 years, moved into an abstinence housing project and is ready to start working.

About Erick Miles

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