Access to meaningful employment is crucial for those re-entering society. Securing a job and a place to live are the main barriers that prevent someone’s ability to realise their potential once they have a criminal record.
Research says that access to employment is essential for reducing future crime among individuals who have previously been imprisoned or are under community supervision.
Employment allows people to feel productive, and attain self-sufficiency and independence. It gives a starting point by giving means to acquire housing, transport, and entertainment.
Ask yourself, who would you be without your job and a criminal record?
Bridging the gap between employers and ex-offenders is vital. It makes moving on from a criminal record possible.
“I’ve long argued that anyone who has struggled in life deserves a second chance to get back up on their feet and realise their true potential. The idea that no one should be judged by their worst moment lies at the heart of my passion for criminal justice reform and many other issues. When it comes to people with criminal convictions, we know that the dignity of work is an important part of rehabilitation. Having a job is an important factor in staying out of trouble and keeping re-offending rates low.”
Ex-offenders have overcome challenges that many of us can’t relate to. They used to be criminal entrepreneurs and develop the desire to transform into legal entrepreneurs.
Inside, prisoners have access to a wide range of learning material, meaning many of them come out educated and trained in vocational skills that employers need.
Over half of organisations in England and Wales, say they have struggled to fill a position due to skills shortages in the past year. Working with prisons to offer employment opportunities makes good business sense, as well as helping prisoners and ex-offenders get their lives back on track.
The CIPD has calculated that filling the average non-managerial vacancy costs around £2,000.
Work inclusion initiatives, such as opening recruitment up to ex-offenders can help reduce those overheads, saving a business substantial amounsts.
81% of businesses that employ ex-offenders say that they have helped their business.
Evidence from employers such as Marks & Spencer shows that the higher value placed on having a job, with the desire to stay out of prison, often means ex- offenders have higher levels of loyalty and retention, which keeps institutional knowledge within your business.
The biggest concern employers have around hiring ex-offenders is concern that they may not be honest and trustworthy.
However, over half of employers of ex-offenders would positively rate their attendance at work, being motivated and reliable.
Although ex-prisoners face large unemployment rates, it’s not because they’re not looking for work. Instead, it’s often down to discriminatory hiring practices that keep them from getting the jobs they need to get their lives back on track.
Over 2/5 of employers say hiring ex-offenders has helped their company become socially responsible.
Actively hiring former prisoners is proven to reduce re-offending. Most of these people want the opportunity to turn their back on crime and having a job helps them stay on that path.
An inclusive business creates fair opportunities for its employees.
It also recognises that people have different needs and requirements in order to progress, an inclusive business will offer specific help and support the needs of individuals to open doors for them to achieve.
Looking past prejudice, stereotypes and bias to see the potential of people who represent a chunk of our society helps change business for good and our society and communities for the better.