Prison to be commended to minister

HMP Kirkham will be commended to the prisons minister following a visit from local MP Mark Menzies.

Mr Menzies was so impressed during a visit on Friday he will speak to Crispin Blunt to register his support for the community work and educational schemes carried out at the prison.

An open invite has also been extended to staff, particular those who he met during his visit, to visit to the House of Commons and take a tour with Mr Menzies in recognition of their hard work.

Mr Menzies said: “Prisons and the future of prison policy is, of course, a somewhat controversial subject.

“There are those who are very hard line and others who believe we must do our best to educate and rehabilitate criminals prior to their release.

“At Kirkham, there are amazing offender management, education and work programmes being carried out which are structured to give each inmate a better future from literacy and numeracy to business, bricklaying and cookery.

“That’s not to say this is unique to Kirkham – it’s not – but the positive attitude that oozes from the staff, the commitment of the Governor and the air of calm that exists within the facility was extremely impressive.”

A Category D open prison, many inmates arrive at HMP Kirkham not far from release.

With re-offending a huge issue for the police, Mr Menzies believes that equipping inmates with the skills to run a business earn a living with a trade or go to college or university is vital.

At HMP Kirkham that is done in a range of ways from the “good”-rated Ofsted inspected education service to trade based qualifications.

There are also businesses operating within the prison, giving inmates real life responsibility and experience and some of the men, who are close to release, have already begun jobs and return to the prison each evening.

Mr Menzies said: “Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are issues at the prison which I have not seen.

“I’m not naive enough to think some of these men won’t go out and re-offend or abscond.

“But the commitment and passion of the staff is there for all to see and I was heartened by the positive attitude of many of the inmates who seemed genuinely positive about their futures and committed to a better future.

“It’s absolutely vital we can persuade people that there is a different option than a life of crime.”

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