Supporting, Inspiring, Employing

The UK faces a multi-billion pound bill for reoffending every year, as two-thirds of prisoners reoffend within one year of release from prison. Employment is one of the biggest factors in reducing this risk…

However, employers are reluctant to offer opportunities to those with convictions, while many offenders lack the chance or confidence to move into work…

Our offender rehabilitation programme is tackling these challenges; creating opportunities for offenders to develop skills ahead of release and supporting ex-offenders to find work and housing on release.

HMP Academies
HMP Academies

Our HMP Academies programme supports offenders to improve life and work skills ahead of release, in order to significantly reduce reoffending risks. In prison-based workshops, men and women undertake recycling or fabrication work, earning an enhanced wage, achieving qualifications and developing transferable skills.

Now operational in 11 prisons across the North of England, we are creating work for 250 men and women, in Academies for recycling, and welding and fabrication.

Release Potential

Our Release Potential programme supports offenders through the gate; working with men and women on their plans for release, supporting them to secure meaningful work and stable housing.

We offer work-based placements outside prison to offenders approved for Release on Temporary Licence (ROTL), commonly known as day release. Individuals undertake voluntary or paid roles suited to their skillsets and ambitions, either within Recycling Lives operations or with our partner organisations.

Our offender rehabilitation programmes have created £17.2m reported social value to date - £2.6m in 2015/16, £2.7m in 2016/17, £4.5m in 2017/18 and £7.4m in 2018/19.

Reducing reoffending

Our programmes are highly successful in reducing reoffending rates and improving the life chances and lifestyles of ex-offenders.

Of the 237 offenders so far released from our programmes (during the 2015-19 reporting period), 228 have been rehabilitated, not offending and being supported to move into work. Less than 5% have reoffended - compared to the national average reoffending rate of around 67% this is significant.

In this way, Recycling Lives creates enormous social value by creating savings for the public purse - in the region of £100,000 per person - by an individual no longer needing interventions from the criminal justice system.

The Impact of our partnerships

Our work is doing more than just changing lives for individuals, families and communities - between 2015 and 2019 it has created huge savings for society by reducing costs to the taxpayer and creating social value worth millions of pounds.


  • 27 individuals supported into independent living
  • + 228 ex-offenders rehabilitated
    and supported into work
  • + 3.2m meals delivered across
    Lancashire & Cumbria
  • = £28.3m reported Social Value -
    created through savings to society

UK Offender Release Statistics*

The odds are stacked against offenders leaving custody - though work is the strongest indicator in reducing reoffending risks, many offenders have limited skills and little scope for opportunities.

  • 60%

    of adults without qualifications are reconvicted within 1 year of release, costing the UK between £9.5 and £13 billion every year

  • 68%

    of prisoners asked said having a job would be most important in preventing them from reoffending

  • 60%

    of prisoners asked said they feel having somewhere to live is most important in preventing them from reoffending on release


 *Statistics from Prison Reform trust : Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile, Autumn 2017 ( 


Our Programme

Our programme has been carefully developed to create a work ethic and prepare offenders for life after release, through various aspects of the programme such as:


Offenders released on temporary licence (ROTL) can earn financial bonuses for exceeding targets, 40% of which is donated to victim support funds.

and training

We identify gaps in education and provide access to training for offenders, including an NVQ Level 2 in recycling.


The skills and experience gained and work ethic developed improve employment prospects and better prepare prisoners for any employment.


If required, Recycling Lives will provide living accommodation upon release, ensuring stability whilst the six stage work programme is completed.

Real job

Recycling Lives support social mobility and inspire personal progress by offering employment opportunities within our business, or with our corporate partners.

Our HMP Academy Locations

Delivering social value in 12 HMP Academies within 11 prisons across Northern England, we offer offenders
the chance to earn money, learn skills and plan for their release. Creating £9.8m social value to date, our
work reduces reoffending and supports marginalised individuals into employment.

HMP Academies

download our social value report

We create significant social value each year as we reduce reoffending, support homeless people and redistribute surplus food to charities.

Download our Report to read about the human and financial impact of our work - the lives changed and the savings created.