Charities have praised the government’s renewed ambition to help ex-offenders into employment but stressed the need for a multifaceted approach to tackling re-offending.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab called for a renewed focus on supporting people into work when they leave prison in a meeting with business leaders on Thursday, highlighting three areas: making sure jobs are well advertised in prisons, that ex-offenders are fully equipped to work, and an aim for every resettlement prison to have a board of local employers to better connect the institutions with local businesses.
While welcomed as a positive step by charities, several told The Big Issue a joined-up approach including housing, additional support and a reduction in the length of time ex-offenders are obliged to disclose previous convictions would go a long way to improving employment rates and reducing re-offending.
Raab acknowledged that ex-offenders face numerous obstacles upon leaving prison and suggested that work was on-going across government regarding other elements of support.
Angela Cairns, chief executive of rehabilitation charity Unlock, said the proposals “do not go far enough, the things that have been announced aren’t necessarily radical or new, and they are things that should be in place anyway.
“We are positive about employers being encouraged to employ people with criminal records [but] people need secure housing, they need employment, they need support around them to get on with their life.