Tech4PrisonLeavers.

The Tech4PrisonLeavers project represents a pioneering initiative designed to support former prisoners in their reintegration into society.

Project Overview

In today’s digital-first world, access to the internet is not merely a convenience; it has become a fundamental aspect of societal integration and equal opportunity – it is essential for everyday life. This reality is starkly evident in the challenges faced by former prisoners re-entering society, who are often thrust into a digital landscape that can be both intimidating and unforgiving. The Digital Poverty Alliance’s Tech4PrisonLeavers project has played a vital role in addressing this critical yet frequently overlooked aspect of our social fabric, focusing specifically on prison leavers in the West Midlands, and then London and the South East of England.

Delivery Partners

Digital Poverty Alliance, Radical Recruit, Intel, University of Wolverhampton. Trailblazers were the delivery partner for the first wave of this project.

Also providing practical assistance through devices, data, training, and mentorship are Capgemini, Vodafone, CGI, Nacro, iDEA, We Are Digital.

intel logo
Radical Recruit logo
university of wolverhampton logo
vodafone logo
CapGemini logo
We Are Digital logo
iDEA foundation logo
Nacro logo
CGI logo

Project Aims

The evaluation aims to investigate if and how the Tech4PrisonLeavers programme to address digital poverty for young men leaving prison is:

  • Working towards reduction in offending/reoffending (mediating factors).
  • Improving the confidence, skills, and wellbeing of participants.
  • Improving aspirations and perceived ability to find employment and achieve goals.
A flag reading HM Prison Service - Public Sector Prisons

Context

Men make up a vastly disproportionate amount of the prison population in the UK at nearly 95%.

Multiple studies have shown that re-entry into society is far more challenging for young male adults, and this group is repeatedly forgotten about, and not equipped with enough support after leaving prison.

In fact, previous research highlighted that 40% of young men released from prison into the community do not have access to education or training, whilst 47% are without access to the internet.

Evaluation

Evaluation will be carried out by the Institute for Community Research and Development (ICRD) which works with, in, and for our local communities to deliver effective community-based transformational projects, drive policy developments, and promote social mobility. Their work fits into three key areas: inequality and social analysis, immigration and migration, and criminal justice and violence reduction. They have significant expertise in evaluating the impact of programmes in prisons and with former prisoners as they re-enter the community. A selection of their research projects and reports can be found through their website: www.wlv.ac.uk/icrd

The evaluation will be published in early 2024 and took a mixed-methods approach to understanding the impact of the programme over an initial 12-month period. Quantitative measures of change over time were used to understand if the programme is having an impact. Qualitative methods provide an understanding of how impact is being achieved and participant’s experience of the programme. The qualitative findings will be presented as case studies to illuminate participants’ stories and experiences. The findings will be placed within the appropriate research evidence base and policy-context.

Following the scheme, Digital Poverty Alliance will prepare a white paper which will share their findings with the Government in order to showcase the impact of tackling digital poverty, observing factors such as re-offending rates, with a view to a wider roll out program in future.

Our priority is to successfully resettle young adults in the best possible way to prevent further re-offending. Digital technology is a key part of day-to-day living, it is important that this group are not left behind. This is an excellent initiative that we are delighted to be part of.

Amanda Hughes

Governor , HMP & YOI Brinsford

There are currently 6,500 people who leave prison every year and the re-offending rate for young people in the 18-25 age bracket is 38.4 per cent. We believe that by tackling digital poverty among this cohort we can help people get back on their feet and move forwards.

Elizabeth Anderson

CEO, Digital Poverty Alliance