Learn a trade and keep out of jail

Offenders aged over 18 could be trained and accommodated in university campus-style sites under a £400m scheme launched this month.

Unlock, a charity for ex-offenders, has created the Centres for Excellence scheme, which is funded by private investment, as an alternative to prisons.

Offenders and people at risk of offending will be placed on a threeyear programme of training in trades, including construction, on the sites, which will each take up to 700 people.

Bobby Cummines, chief executive  of Unlock, said some local authorities had already expressed interest in allowing the scheme to be developed in their areas, adding that he wanted all large cities to have one.

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