As of 2015, 83 prisons across England and Wales partake in public/private partnerships in which inmates are paid between £40 and £50 per week for performing outsourced work using equipment and materials provided by private companies. “General assembly and packing” is the most popular form of outsourced labor by far followed by institutional laundering, the processing of recyclables and furniture production.
Now, thanks to an innovative partnership between prefab homebuilder Osco Homes, and HM Prison Hindley, a select group of inmates are putting a dent in Britain’s affordable housing crisis by producing homes.
Working out of a special, highly supervised production facility located at Hindley, the inmates have been tasked with constructing panelized external walls, floors and ceilings for a total of eight affordable prefabricated abodes to be installed at a Together Housing Group-owned affordable housing development in West Yorkshire. Construction Manager notes that Osco Homes plans to eventually produce two prefab residences per week through the scheme and, within three years, complete 1,000 new, much-needed homes for a country suffering through a historic dearth of affordable housing options.
I – Word Understanding
Partake – join
Putting a dent – starting to accomplish something
Abodes – houses
Dearth – shortage
II – Have Your Say
1. How do you imagine life in prison in a day-to-day basis?
2. Prison jobs help inmates learn job skills and develop a stronger work ethic, preparing them for life after prison. However, many ex-convicts experience discrimination and isolation when they get back to the society. What is the situation in your country?
3. Some prison labor are unpaid, some are paid very small amount. Would you consider this “slavery”?