The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has awarded £100,000 in funding to a scheme which teaches coding to carefully vetted offenders to prepare them for work as part of plans to help marginalised groups become skilled in tech.
Code 4000 has led a successful trial at HMP Humber and will use the funding to expand its scheme to HMP Holme House and reach more than a thousand more offenders.
The award will also fund a new employment hub in Sheffield, providing support, mentoring and training for graduates once they have left prison, as the organisation looks to achieve its aim of developing a network of coding workshops in UK prisons.
The programme is modelled on the Last Mile project in the San Quentin prison in California which has helped almost 500 offenders with a 0% reoffending rate of participants. The national average reoffending rate in the US is 55%.
To tackle reoffending – which costs society around £15 billion a year - the Government has launched the Education and Employment Strategy, which aims to create a system where each prisoner is set on a path to employment from the outset.
Minister for Digital Margot James said: "The Government is committed to stopping the cycle of reoffending and a valuable asset to prevent recidivism is employment.
"Equipping offenders with coding skills will help them into life-changing work and give them a path to a hugely rewarding career.
"We have a world-leading digital economy and this new funding will help keep people out of prison so they can give back to their local communities as well as be a boost for our tech businesses."
Code 4000 workshop instructor at HMP Humber Neil Barnby said: "Our workshops are reducing reoffending at a measurable rate, because we keep in touch with our graduates. We are constantly seeing success after success. When I started teaching in prisons I thought that if I could change just one life, turn one person away from crime then I have achieved something truly marvellous.
"I look back on the years that I have been teaching coding in prisons and can see all the lives I have had a part in changing for the better. Not just the ex-offenders but their families and, more importantly their children. It is an enormous sense of achievement and with this funding I look forward to changing even more lives."