HGV driving lessons for prisoners

HGV driving lessons for prisoners

HGV driving lessons are to be made available to prisoners in a bid to cut re-offending rates.

Open prison HMP Standford Hill, on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, has teamed up with Mainstream Training to offer the opportunity to its inmates.

It is hoped the training courses - which will teach HGV and forklift truck driving skills - will help prisoners to stay on the straight and narrow when they leave jail by making them more employable.

The courses are held mainly in classrooms, with inmates attending either at the jail or the firm's Sittingbourne base.

Although there will be no upfront cost for the prisoner, Mainstream was keen to stress the scheme is not a freebie for inmates.

Senior operations manager Paul Tolley said prisoners are expected to pay back the cost of the course when they pass their test and secure a job. This fee then funds the next inmate.

Initial funding is from donations from groups including the Salvation Army and Royal London Society.

The programme helps the prisoner gain a valued skill, put together a CV and seek work.

Mr Tolley said many prisoners find themselves back behind bars within weeks of leaving because they are sent out on the streets with little money and support and no job.

He said prisoners are less likely to break the law again if they have a full-time job.

Copyright Press Association 2014