In 2016/17, CFE partnered with NBV to deliver a prison entrepreneurship programme (PEP) in HMP Ranby. Funded by NOMS, this one-year pilot built valuable insight on the design, delivery and evaluation of PEPs.
In 2016, CFE published ‘From inmates to entrepreneurs: How prison entrepreneurship can break the cycle of reoffending‘. The report suggested that helping prisoners prepare for business startup upon release is not only achievable and cost-effective, but is an immensely popular idea among prisoners themselves.
We calculated that the introduction of Prison Entrepreneurship Programmes (PEPs) with ‘through-the-gate’ support for all interested pre-release prisoners could save the government up to £1.4bn annually on the cost of ex-prisoner reoffending, at a cost of £82m – providing a 17x return on investment.
Having been well-received by government and the criminal justice sector, it was clear we needed to expand the evidence base and produce a replicable model for prison entrepreneurship programmes. CFE sought to cooperate with enterprise agencies and prisons to design, deliver and evaluate a pilot.
Following the Queen’s Speech in 2016, six prisons were given new ‘reform’ status. HMP Ranby was one such prison. Neil Richards, the executive governor responded to CFE’s call for a pilot, and an innovation grant pot provided by the Ministry of Justice to reform prisons made it possible.
The pilot was delivered by NBV – a business support organisation that has operated in the East Midlands for over 30 years.