The Clink: Dining Experience @ HMP Brixton

Finally got to eat at the restaurant yesterday (05/04 @12pm Lunch), wasn’t allowed phones or to take photos so going to summarise the whole thing through text (might draw some rough sketches to visualise some parts).

http://theclinkcharity.org/the-clink-restaurants/brixton-london/

Key Points:

  • Incredibly controlled environment, because it’s located within the prison a lot of security procedures are set
  • Good dining experience and very friendly staff, felt like they were really trying to make a difference for themselves
  • The charity has achieved a reduction in reoffending with 87.5% of graduates completing the scheme and not reoffending upon release
  • They have offsite garden/allotments where 75 % of the restaurant produce (veg/herbs/eggs) is grown by other inmates/ex-offenders

 

Online Process:

  • Have to register online and go through a vetting process
  • They then email you roughly within 48 hrs and you choose a slot
  • If successful you pay a £15 deposit per person and provide a few more details
  • Forms and guidelines are sent on rules that must be followed

 

Upon Arrival:

  • Arrived at least 30mins before 12 (state that you must arrive at least 15mins early)
  • Only 4 external guests (2 being myself and Rob)
  • ‘Reception’ is located just outside the prison entrance, a container where lockers are provided.
  • Watched a TED-Ed talk by the founder Al Crisci https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AchEJ197eec
  • Receptionist goes through some more guidelines and hand him our IDs
  • Can’t take pretty much anything in besides a wallet, not even tissues as they could be laced with liquid narcotics

 

Entry into Prison:

  • The receptionist rings the guards and the restaurant to let us in
  • Go through main entrance and locked in driveaway where we are searched and hand in our IDs to the guards
  • Mirrors are placed at an angle on the ceiling to check vehicles
  • Alarm goes off at one point
  • Let into the prison after 5mins of waiting
  • Lots of barbed wire everywhere

 

Restaurant:

  • It’s located directly in front of the main entrance
  • Entry is always locked and we are let in and locked in
  • Quite surreal environment, temporarily forget you’re in a prison and locked in, until you see the metal bars and barbed wire
  • Several waiters/staff | All of them very polite and friendly
  • Lots of inmate artwork displayed around, some available for purchase and merchandise also for sale
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Kitchen was around a corner (hidden)
  • Mostly staff customers | A lot of takeaways going out
  • 50 guests coming for dinner later
  • Large range of guests from different companies and locations (Texas to France)
  • Food was good and very well presented

 

Upon Leaving:

  • Roughly in there for 1hr 30mins
  • Had a good chat with some of the staff about football and the woes of supporting Arsenal
  • Had to wait for the receptionist to pick us up and go through the reverse order initially described | Also had to leave together with the other guests

 

 

 

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