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Prisoners are given jobs at Bernard Matthews’ turkey factory to fill vacancies


Bird action! Prisoners are given jobs at Bernard Matthews’ Turkey factory to fill vacancies as part of a government drive to rehabilitate criminals

  • Nearly 100 serving or former prisoners work in poultry and hospitality
  • The workforce campaign is part of a government initiative to rehabilitate criminals
  • Turkish producer Bernard Matthews and bar chain Greene King . are participating










Turkish producer Bernard Matthews has recruited prisoners to fill vacancies and make sure the birds get to the tables this Christmas.

Nearly 100 serving or former prisoners are working in the poultry and hospitality sector as part of a government drive to rehabilitate criminals.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the meat processing industry had 14,000 vacancies — nearly 15 percent of the workforce. This means companies were eager to reach out to the inmates on release day to help fill in the loopholes.

Nearly 100 serving or former prisoners (file photo used) work in the poultry and hospitality sector as part of a government drive to rehabilitate criminals

Bernard Matthews employs nine inmates and six ex-prisoners at his factory in Norwich.

Training Director Brian Hurst said: “The work we do with HMB Norwich gives people a chance to transform their lives.

This not only helps them, but reduces re-criminalization. It also greatly benefits us as a company because these people are reliable, very hardworking and really appreciate this opportunity.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab recently unveiled the Prison Strategy White Paper that reinstated the government’s commitment to helping prisoners gain education and skills to reduce the chance of recidivism.

Research by the Department of Justice indicates that prisoners who find work after their release are up to 9 percent less likely to return to crime.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the meat processing industry (pictured in file) had 14,000 job vacancies — nearly 15 percent of the workforce.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the meat processing industry (pictured in file) had 14,000 job vacancies — nearly 15 percent of the workforce.

Pub and brewing retail chain Greene King is also involved in a campaign to recruit offenders.

It has held 79 prisoners since 2019 and hired eight others on release day this month.

Graham Briggs, Head of Apprenticeships, said: ‘At Greene King, we believe it is important to focus on an individual’s future and potential, not their past.

We are excited to continue our partnership with the Department of Justice, which provides employment opportunities for individuals released on provisional licenses and released from prison.

“These opportunities will help individuals move forward in life, become important team members, enjoy stable income and build a career.”

The national pub chain, Greene King, is also involved in a criminal recruitment drive

The national pub chain, Greene King, is also involved in a criminal recruitment drive

The new strategy will help advisers to offenders find work in prisons or abroad upon their provisional release.

Employers will interview inmates via video link and there will be ‘job centers’ in prisons.

There will also be more computers in the cells to allow screened prisoners to conduct online training or educational sessions as well as keep in touch with their families.

Prisons with indoor cell technology will increase from four to 11 by next summer.

All guests will receive “resettlement” passports that act like a CV and record their training, skills, drug treatment, residency, and family ties.

“Employers like Green King and Bernard Matthews are leading the way in training prisoners and giving them jobs so they can stay away from crime when they are released,” Raab said.

Under our new strategy, more prisons will work with local businesses to help fill vacancies and reduce crime.

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