Baking Behind Bars

jailbakerLife in prison isn’t usually something you asso­ciate with sweet treats, but a jail in Italy has opened the country’s only bakery behind bars.

The program in Padua’s Due Palazzi prison is designed to help inmates build their skills and self-esteem, in the hope that it will cut down re-offending once they leave prison. Recidivism is a serious problem in Italy, where prisons are among the most crowded in Europe.

The brains behind the bakery, Nicola Boscolett, said that prisoners involved in the program “start to change; they become the type of good worker that it is hard to find even outside, because they regain their dignity, self-esteem. They are able to send home money to their families.”

The prisoners sell around 70,000 panettones each year to 200 shops in the country.

Supposedly, re-offending rates have already dropped to 1-2 percent from a national average of 70 percent for those involved in the project.

Around 150 of the 800 detainees in the prison are paid to work on projects such as the bakery, with other options including a call center and workshops making bicycles.

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