so… Prisoners in Hydebank wood women’s and young offenders prison are being trained to bake and will be producing the bread for prisoners across Ireland! They are set to produce over 2000 loaves a week which I think is fantastic news.

It will cater for the needs at Hydebank and at Northern Ireland‘s only high-security prison – HMP Maghaberry near Lisburn.

It should be all up and running by the end of 2014 and is one of two great new initiatives in the pipeline for Hydebank.

The other initiative is an on-site café that will be staffed by prisoners to cater for both prison officers and visitors.

Traditionally prisoners are trained in plumbing, electrics and the like however in the current job market it will be hard for ex-offenders to find work so diversifying their skills I think is a great step forward.

I cant help but wonder has Gorden Ramsay’s Bad boy bakery in HMP Brixton got a little something to do with the decision  Hydebank have taken to produce these new training programs, but never the less we think that not only will this be great for prisoners but also it must cost far less to produce their own baked goods than it will to buy them in.

Meaning more funds in the prison kitty for other things such as more books in the libraries  or even better more nutritious  food??

Food In prison at the moment is in dire need of sorting out, Jamie Oliver fixed school dinners, Heston has helped to sort out  hospital food Gordon Ramsay has helped many restaurants turn themselves in kitchen nightmares around so I wonder if any of these celebrity chefs will take on the challenge of prison food!

In other news this week Dog lovers have been asked to help volunteer for a new scheme in Essex to help re-habillitate ex-offenders by offering animal therapy shadowed by a probation officer these volunteers will be working with ex-offenders to walk, train and play with dogs waiting to be rehomed.

We have also heard of prisons starting to allow registered P.A.T dogs into the establishments to interact with the prisoners and help break up the mundane cycle of their quite frankly boring routine this was introduced back in 2010 (look at this news story from the daily mail) but we have heard this week that a Serco run prison in Nottingham (Lowdham Grange) will now be introducing the scheme.

Reading back this Blog entry its quite strange how I’ve gone fro discussing the new improvements in prisoner training to get them “work ready” for release and have found myself ending on pets as therapy dogs being allowed into prisons but hold on tight folks as this is the kind of crazy twists and turns the prison phone blog has in store for you!!

Take care and stay safe

x Claire x

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