West Ham take the lead in re-offender programme as they look to send coaches into prisons to give inmates chance of a career in football
- West Ham to become first Premier League club to join ‘The Twinning Project’
- The scheme aims at reducing re-offending inmates by giving a second chance
- The programme was launched by former Arsenal vice chairman David Dein
- Dein has visited 106 jails and believes prisoners could go on to become referees
West Ham United are set to become the first Premier League club to partner a prison in a new scheme aimed at reducing re-offending.
The programme has been launched by former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein and the Hammers have expressed an interest in sending coaches into a jail as part of
The Twinning Project to give inmates a chance of a career within football.
West Ham are set to become the first Premier League club to join ‘The Twinning Project’
Dein, who believes some prisoners could go on to become referees, has already been into 106 jails, delivering presentations to inmates.
He said: ‘I was going into schools talking to pupils and I thought: “where else is there a captive audience?”. That word — captive — stuck in my mind.
‘All the prisoners I spoke to love football, the highlight of their week is watching Match of the Day. That gave me the impetus.’
The programme has been launched by former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein
Dein, who is supported by the government and a variety of football authorities including the Premier League and EFL, now wants to see 20 clubs partner a local prison.
Coaches will then deliver a programme to inmates and those who complete it will receive a qualification which, it is hoped, will kickstart a coaching career or a path to employment.
The initial response at the launch on Wednesday was promising.
‘We had a show of hands and more than 20 went up,’ Dein, 75, said. ‘The first was (West Ham vice-chairman) Karren Brady.’
West Ham vice-chariman Karren Brady (centre) has shown an interest in the scheme
In the early stages, the focus will be on coaching, but Dein believes that prisons would be a fertile ground for finding officials. ‘These are macho, fit guys who would make ideal referees,’ he said.
The aim of the scheme, which will be taken to prisoners of both sexes and young offenders, is to reduce re-offending. Figures show that 64 per cent who come out of prison go back inside within a year.
‘Things have to change,’ said Dein. ‘It costs the taxpayer £35,000 per year for each prisoner. We can’t do nothing.’
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