HACRO trains prisoners to become baristas while working in coffee bars in the visits halls of their prisons, they can gain valuable work experience and a recognized qualification to increase their employment prospects on release. As we all know coffee shops are a growth industry. The programme is a 3-way partnership between the prison + HACRO + our commercial partner, backed by a Service Level Agreement.
Practical Support in Resettling Offenders:
Coffee Bar Training
Apart from the set-up costs, it is self-financing and has been running successfully since April 2013 at HMP The Mount and since August 2015 at HMP Bedford.
The training, equivalent to NVQ levels 1-2, is accredited by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe and covers not just serving a latte, but also how to look after a coffee machine, as well as the different kinds of coffee beans and the processes, from growing through roasting to grinding, that go into making the perfect cup of real coffee. Apart from the theory, there is also work experience in the coffee bars which contributes to the qualification, as well as building confidence. HACRO is now running its 4th class at The Mount and has just trained its first baristas at Bedford.
We try to create (as far as is possible) the feel of a coffee shop in the visits hall. The “Cool Bean Café” at HMP The Mount and “The Hub” at HMP Bedford are popular both with the men and with their visitors, who appreciate the freshly made food and coffee.
Some Coffee Bar Training Team Members comments:
“Working in the Prison Visits Hall, is and has been an amazing opportunity.
An environment different to the usual manufactured Prison environment, the coffee shop allows us to have normal interactions which is so important in order to maintain a concept of reality and norm, which we all will be released to eventually.
I have gained a certification in Barista skills, which has opened up a whole new and different area of work opportunity if I ever require so, and with the help and assistance of trainers and an excellent manager running the coffee shop, continue to improve on skills learnt on a daily basis.
As an IPP Prisoner the opportunity to work with members of the public and deal with situations which arise in real time has been invaluable and I would recommend that everyone should take up this fantastic opportunity”.
“I have been working in the visitor’s café in The Mount for a couple of months now. It has been a fun and valuable experience. Working behind the counter and interacting with the public, really allows me to escape the reality of prison for a couple of hours. Also giving me the experience and skills I need to potentially work in a café upon release. Also, the Barista course that is offered to us ensures that I can actually gain a qualification whilst here”.
“As a mandatory life sentence prisoner, I would very much like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation in being given the privilege to work in the Visiting Hall, Barista Training Coffee Shop at HMP The Mount.
Due to the fact, this enables me to address aspects of my sentence planning objectives, which require me to engage with members of the public on a regular basis.
Hence, the Barista Training Coffee Shop is invaluable, especially since life sentence prisoners can no longer apply to the prison authorities to be risk assessed for either an escorted absence or a release on temporary licence, from closed conditions.
Furthermore, the experience in working in the Barista Training Coffee Shop environment enables me to empathise with the customers, in light of the fact that the customers are visiting fellow prisoners.
Also, whilst working in the Barista Training Coffee Shop environment, it allows me to gain skills in teamwork and working in harmony with both other prisoners and civilian contractors, of which experience I will be able to use to add to my C.V.
And ultimately after completion of my Barista Training Coffee Shop course, I will invariably receive a S.C.A.E. Coffee Diploma, from the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe. This will increase my chance of gaining employment if released on life licence and dramatically reduce my chance of re-offending”.