May 22, 2022

The current shortage of workers across the UK has made headlines and left the business out of the workforce. From joining bonuses to bidding to include unused ‘talent polls’, the crisis has forced employers to look at comprehensive recruitment in a new light.

One such source of wages is the release of people from prison. As things stand, only one in seven gets a job within six months of being released from prison – a number that has consistently refused to step down despite the promises of several Justice Secretaries. In this context, Dominic Raab’s commitment to increase this ratio to one in two is welcome. But what can be done to ensure that this desire does not remain the same: a desire?

Helping people who work out of prison will not only help employers fill vacancies. It can change lives, reduce re-offending rates and unlock human potential that is often lost. Our experience as charities working with both men and women released from prison shows that many people want to do the right thing, but are left behind by a long list of obstacles. Finding a place to live is often the first issue. 26% of nationally released prisoners Released homeless or in unknown circumstances, and more than half without a stable address. Fresh Independent Monitoring Board Report At HMP Bronzefield in Surrey, Europe’s largest women’s prison, an astonishing 77% of women were released without safe housing.

Challenges do not end there. Those serving a prison sentence are currently being paid £ 76 a day (up from £ 46 last year, for the first time in 25 years) and sent on their way. Switchback data In London, 46 per cent of young people have been released without a bank account, one in four without an identity and one in five without a phone. Even with the help of the best job, it is difficult to expect anyone to find and retain a job without these basic necessities.

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The Prisons Strategy White Paper, published by the Ministry of Justice in December, takes some steps to recognize and address these issues. One of the initiatives initiated by the government is to issue a “resettlement passport” to every prisoner who is released, with the aim of “ensuring a smooth transition to the community.” The purpose of the document is to include, among other things, a CV, an ID, an address and details of their local GP.

These suggestions are welcome steps in the right direction. However, projects leave significant gaps that could harm efforts to keep people out of crime and work. First, a long-term plan is needed to ensure that not everyone who leaves prison receives temporary accommodation. We see a lot of people who move from hostel to hostel for months, can’t stop and focus on building the future.

Second, in the modern world, access to technology is a necessity, not a luxury. That’s why Switchback is running a campaign for anyone who needs to provide a basic smartphone with data when it’s released. Eventually, as it stands, those who leave prison often fall into poverty or debt while waiting long weeks for Universal Credit to arrive, which unfortunately pushes many people directly back into crime. To avoid this, detainees should be assisted to make a universal credit claim on the day of their release, with a non-refundable grant that is sufficient to receive them in the period before their first payment.

Importantly, any resettlement package needs to include skilled one-to-one assistance to help navigate release challenges. Any meaningful help comes with the understanding that barriers to employment are complex, and include trauma, low self-esteem and mental retardation. Services need to be better integrated, including their gender, according to the detainee. And cultural background. Six weeks after their release from prison, the proportion of women in employment is three times lower than that of men, and people from ethnic minority backgrounds are at disproportionate risk of long-term unemployment.

As charities working with both men and women released from prison, we can see every day that skilled, trusting relationships are the key to real change. Only 9% of men backed by switchbacks re-offend, compared to 46% nationally. For working-age-assisted women, the impact is long-term: 77% of job assistants are still at work six months later. These figures show that real lasting change is possible with the right help.

Finally, in order to give people a real chance to be free, we must remove the stigma and discrimination that comes with punishment. Half Employers say they will not consider hiring anyone with a criminal record. For the men and women we work with, as campaigners have noted. UnlockDisclosure of a conviction can create an almost invincible barrier to access to many careers that require better criminal record scrutiny, such as care, education, nursing or social work.

It disproportionately affects women, who make up the bulk of the workforce in these fields. Meanwhile, for people from ethnic minority backgrounds, who are already discriminated against and are surprisingly over-represented in the prison system, a criminal record adds another potential form of discrimination. Is. Although security measures are understandable and necessary in some professions, more needs to be done to open up opportunities for those who want to leave their criminal past behind.

Helping inmates work is one of the best ways to save their communities by saving taxpayers money and enabling people with criminal records to lead a full life as part of society. The planned resettlement is a welcome recognition of the need for a passport change, but the tickbox method will not work. It is important to have the right documents, but it is important to have someone to help you use them. With more resettlement ambitions, every prisoner can lay a solid foundation for change – and benefit society as a whole.

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