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DCMS backs coding classes for prisoners

15/03/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is to provide £100,000 for the expansion of a pilot scheme to teach prisoners coding skills.

Code on computer screen

It is allocating the money to extend a scheme run by Code4000, an organisation that works with vetted offenders, at Humber Prison to Holme House Prison. This should enable it to reach more than 1,000 extra offenders.

The money will also fund a new employment hub in Sheffield, providing mentoring and further training for graduates after they have left prison.

It is part of Code4000’s aim of developing a network of coding workshops in UK prisons, and is modelled on the Last Mile project in California’s San Quentin prison, which has helped almost 500 offenders stay clear of crime after release.

Neil Barnby, workshop instructor at Humber Prison for Code4000, 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.”

Life changing

Minister for Digital Margot James said: “Equipping offenders with coding skills will help them into life changing work and give them a path to a hugely rewarding career.

“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.”

The money has been provided as part of a £1.2 million package from the Digital Skills Innovation Fund for regional and local initiatives to help people from underrepresented groups gain the skills they need for digital roles.

Programmes being funded include those targeted at helping women from disadvantaged backgrounds, people with autism and people living in lower socioeconomic areas. The aim is to help people get the skills to succeed in roles such as data analysts, programmers, software developers and digital marketeers.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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