A prisoner rehabilitation charity has scooped a national award for “going above and beyond” its remit.

The Dartington-based LandWorks is celebrating after winning the ‘Outstanding Local or Regional Organisation’ award in the national Criminal Justice Alliance (CJA) awards 2021.

The annual awards are designed to celebrate the outstanding individuals and organisations that are helping to make the criminal justice system fairer and more effective, and the winners were announced during an online ceremony.

LandWorks project director, Chris Parsons, who accepted the award, said: “We are delighted to have won this award.

“It is huge boost for everyone involved in LandWorks to be recognised in this way.

“We will continue our work with some of the most socially excluded people in our communities.

“It is in everyone’s interests that more is done to help people in the criminal justice system to change their lives and reduce the risk of re-offending.

“We want to thank all our supporters, volunteers, donors and partners.

“We know that we would not have won this award without all their help and support over the years.”

From its base on the Dartington Hall Estate, LandWorks works closely with local probation and prison services to provide a supported route back into employment and the community for people in prison or at risk of going to prison.

The CJA judges praised LandWorks for “going above and beyond the science of rehabilitation and recidivism,” adding: “It’s a way of life and the opportunity to reset and prepare for the world beyond the (prison) gate.”

LandWorks provides intensive worked-based placements that sees participants taking part in a series of enterprises including market gardening, pottery, and woodwork - all of which provides produce for sale to the local community.

Alongside gaining important vocational and social skills from the training programme, LandWorks ‘trainees’ are provided with a wide range of extra support to aid their resettlement and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

This includes counselling and practical assistance with issues such as finding accommodation and seeking employment.

When placements end, LandWorks remains in contact and provides a range of ongoing support for its former trainees. 

LandWorks has successfully provided more than 150 intensive placements for prisoners and people serving community sentences. 

The one-year reoffending rate for LandWorks is just 5 per cent, and over 95 per cent of former LandWorks trainees who are eligible to work are currently in at least part-time employment.