Supporters fighting to save four "Christian wings" in British prisons have been heartened by an invitation to present new proposals to the government's prison service, according to Ian Aldred of the Kainos Community, which funds the wings.
The wings are earmarked for closure—the first as soon as January—despite claims that they improve inmates' behavior and their chances of resettlement into society.
The Kainos Community is a British charity specializing in rehabilitation programs based on Christian principles.
The charity—whose name comes from a Greek word signifying "new beginnings"—financed the wings as prototypes for the entire U.K. prison system with the hope that they would eventually receive funding from the prison service. However, the prison system announced in November that it did not wish to spend public money on taking over and running such wings.
Aldred, chairman of the charity whose supporters come from many denominations, said at the time he was "baffled" by the decision not to fund the wings.
Now the prison service has asked Kainos to make new proposals that are expected to include suggestions over funding.
The two sides differ on the significance of Kainos' work in prison wings at The Verne (Dorset), Swaleside (Kent) and Highpoint (Suffolk), where there are Kainos wings in both the women's and the men's jail.
Since the first such prison wing opened in 1997, about 1,300 prisoners have been involved.
Kainos says that once released from prison, former inmates of the Christian wings—who volunteer for the program—have a short-term re-offending rate of 23 percent. The charity accepts a prison service finding that the general prison population has a re-offending rate of 26 percent after ...1