Egino Emerging vermiculture pathway
Egino Emerging is pioneering a revolutionary pathway to cooperative self-employment for people with convictions. Through cooperation with prison and probation, Egino Emerging is creating a way for prisoners and prison leavers to break the cycle of re-offending by recycling food waste into high grade fertilizer. Prison leavers will have the skills and experience to join, or set up their own, vermiculture fertilizer production businesses thereby helping their communities, themselves, and the environment through the provision of fertilizer products developed from recycled materials. An employed prison leaver is far less likely to re-offend, strain social services or need government social benefits. Egino Emerging vermiculture pathway helps all facets of society and the environment.
The myth of prisoner vocational training
Current thinking is prisoners can learn basic employment skills while in prison which will make them more employable. Specific vocational training has been taught in prisons for decades. And for decades, prison leaver employment figures have been dismal while re-offending rates remain high. Despite vocational training, only about 20% of prison leavers are in employment a year after leaving prison. The rest are unemployed or back in prison, which is not only a huge drain on the public purse but also creates a subclass of excluded people with no hope of a better life.
The uncomfortable truth is society excludes the vast majority of prison leavers, economically and socially. Employers are more concerned about the stigma of a prison record than any vocational training. Many employees don’t want to work next to a prison leaver. Many customers don’t want to be served by someone with a criminal record. A few progressive employers pick and choose a few prison leavers as employees in specific roles, which is to be applauded, but most employers don’t want anything to do with hiring ex-offenders no matter what their qualifications.
The Egino Emerging Vermiculture Pathway
The Egino Emerging vermiculture pathway is designed to create cooperative self-employment opportunities for not only prison leavers, but for prisoners while incarcerated. This pathway helps the prison, prisoners, prison leavers, local communities, taxpayers, government institutions and our environment.
It works like this:
Prisoners cooperate with prison staff to create a vermiculture food and waste vermiculture composting system within their prison. The prisoners turn prison waste into high grade fertilizer to use on prison grounds and to donate or sell to the community. Along the way, prisoners learn the fine art of vermiculture composting while studying plant biology and self-employment skills through distance learning.
Upon release, prison leavers apprentice with the Egino Emerging vermiculture social enterprise to expand their skills and experience with real world socially responsible retail experience. After a period of apprenticeship, prison leavers can join the social enterprise or set one up on their own.
A Cooperative Approach
Self-employment doesn’t have to mean one person setting up a hierarchy to venture out alone into the sink or swim world of business. Many people have technical skills and ability but may struggle with the confidence needed to run a sole trader enterprise. Likewise, some may have the academic ability but struggle with the physical ability to make things happen. That’s why the Egino Emerging Pathway stresses the cooperative approach: we all work better as a team.
Not just a group of people working under a boss, a team of peers who are all part-owners of the enterprise larger than the individual. Each cooperative member has an equal say in how their enterprise is run. Instead of working for an hourly wage, prison leavers are part of something bigger: they own their own destiny.
It all starts in prisons
HMPs embracing the Egino Emerging Vermiculture Pathway can follow the lead of correctional facilities in the US who are saving tens of thousand of pounds per year on waste collection fees. For surprising low start-up costs, HMPs can improve community relations by donating high grade compost to local garden projects and their local authority. HMPs can reduce their carbon footprint. HMPs can give prison leavers real opportunities for self-employment to break the re-offending cycle. Egino Emerging is here to help HMPs every step of the way.