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A win-win for the environment and the prisoners at HMP Highpoint South

HMP Highpoint South is a category C men's prison in Suffolk. It was established in 1977, opening originally in 1938 as home to an RAF base and then a Ugandan refugee camp. It is an all-male premises with over 1,300 prisoners, and extension plans are underway to expand the capacity to 2,000 inmates by Jan 2027. Highpoint prisoners serve any term, up to and including full life sentences.

The prison runs several workshops, referred to as ‘Industries,’ including tailoring, textile recycling, waste management, and now, digital component recovery. These workshops provide a pathway to employment, creating jobs that need doing, like rag sorting for charity and tea bag making, and offer work-life skills, like personal track safety, construction, and now a new digital workshop.

The digital workshop addresses how the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HMP could successfully benefit from the dismantling and component recycling of their end-of-contract print devices whilst providing meaningful employment skills to prisoners. Xerox’s relationship with the MoJ spans many years, providing print services for MoJ departments, including the Prisons service, since 2014. MoJ has over 5,000 Xerox® print devices across approximately 700 sites and works closely with Xerox to ensure sustainability is at the heart of any contract, from product design through the full lifecycle to emissions reporting and end-of-life.

Xerox strives to support prisoner reform projects, and the idea of a digital workshop was sparked between Xerox and DSA Connect Limited in May 2022. DSA Connect is an IT Asset Disposal (ITAD) organisation with many years of experience in asset disposal and decommissioning projects. The organisation partners with the Ministry of Defence and works with numerous government departments and blue-chip companies. HMP Highpoint was selected as a suitable partner for the project, and after six months of planning between Steve Phillips, Head of Reducing Reoffending at HMP Highpoint, the Xerox account team, Alex Taylor and Steve O’Neill, and Ian Arundell, Commercial Director at DSA, in February 2023, a proof of concept was initiated on-site. Selected prisoners undertook a rigorous three-day CPD-accredited training course provided by DSA Connect, and Xerox engineers provided further on-the-job support and training.

The workshop has 12 prisoners employed, soon to be increased to 16. Warren Higgs, AUM Industries at HMP Highpoint, manages the job applications for the workshop carefully, selecting prisoners who can work as part of a team, as well as have the potential to continue the skills in employment as a returning citizen following their sentence.

“I’m grateful to pick up new skills and hope it will lead to a job when I leave. I like working as part of a team.”

- HMP Highpoint South prisoner

The first wave of the project is the generic management of end-of-life devices that fall into the Xerox supply chain.

MoJ can use this service to support its circular economy efforts, bringing MoJ equipment into the workshop as part of the upcoming refresh of equipment in the MoJ print estate.

The workshop delivers asset recycling through component recovery. Each printer is brought to the site and registered into a digital portal. The printer is then tracked through each stage of the recycling process, including the removal and secure destruction of data. The printer is manually dismantled piece by piece and then sorted into groups of materials such as plastics, glass, metals, toners, and circuit boards. The workshop is measured and can demonstrate greater than 99% weight matching on the before/after regular batch testing, with 99.8% of the components passed onto local recycle specialists. Only 0.02% is classified as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. The digital portal tracks progress and shows how much of each component they have processed each week, and collectively provides value data insight for sustainability reporting.

The target for the workshop is to process and dismantle up to 600 devices per month. In just the first six weeks of the project, the men have processed 349 Xerox® devices for full dismantling, with the total weight of components processed for recycling at nearly 12,000 kg. Phase two of the project will introduce refurbishment, where the print devices will be assessed and then repaired and refurbished to be returned to the MoJ for continued use or onward resale or re-distribution.

A HMP Prison spokesperson said, “This program has energised the men, providing them with valuable skills for life and supporting their eventual resettlement. It is a great feeling to be involved with the men in contributing to a giving back activity.”

Xerox is proud to be part of this tripartite project, working with HMP Highpoint and DSA Connect in conjunction with our ongoing relationship with the MoJ.

The partnership has worked smoothly and seamlessly, with all parties involved having the same goal - to create valuable transferable skills and a meaningful pathway to employment for the prisoners while driving a circular economy. It’s been a win, win, win for all involved.

“The team has put in so much hard work to turn this idea into a reality. It further expands our market-leading position in managed print and shows our ability to drive value and innovation. I’m delighted to see the prisoners in action today, and we’re proud of the net zero impact. To get to just 0.02% waste is an incredible achievement from all involved, especially the prisoners, through their diligence. We want to expand to parts recycling & equipment refurbishment for reuse, and most importantly, the people involved gaining skills and accreditation to support their employment when they return to the workforce. We’re very excited about the opportunity this brings them and us.”

- Jonathan Leaper, Xerox EMEA Services Director

The workshop project contributes to all parties’ overall Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental and Social Governance goals, key parts of their core values. Businesses and Government continue to focus on carbon reduction as they strive for Net Zero goals over the next decade.

DSA Chairman Harry Benham commented, “ESG and CSR are always a responsibility for all people, whether corporate, government or individuals. They are not the exclusive remit of the so-called ‘Do-Gooder’ as we should all strive to be ‘Good-Doers’!”

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