The number of ex-offenders at work is accelerating due to a meteoric push to reduce crime

The number of ex-prisoners on the job has risen dramatically as a result of the Deputy Prime Minister’s drive to make our streets safer, reduce crime and protect the public by enabling offenders to upgrade as they are behind bars.

Over the past year the proportion of ex-offenders working 6 weeks after release has increased by more than half – with tough new employment targets to be introduced for prison leaders.

As part of the push, the Deputy Prime Minister was joined by four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel at HMPYOI Feltham, London, today to open a new car workshop which will train young offenders in the maintenance and repair – helping them go from prisons to pistons when they get out.

Evidence shows that making prisoners work while behind bars works, with work awaiting them back in the community upon release, is much less likely to re-offend.

And 9 out of 10 employers who have hired ex-con say they are “motivated, reliable, good at their job and trustworthy,” making it a win-win situation by any measure.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said:

Getting prisoners to work is a crucial way to reduce recidivism – which is why game-changing initiatives like the mechanic’s workshop at HMYOI Feltham are so important.

With abstinence-based drug treatment and facilities to maintain family ties, our prisons divert offenders from a life of crime – reducing crime and protecting the public.

Sebastien Vettel said:

I think teaching useful skills, such as auto mechanics, is a great way to help rehabilitate young people who have made mistakes in their past. It shouldn’t be true that teenagers are written off at such a young age.

This workshop means that these young people, once released, will have the chance to take a new direction in life and will be able to make a valuable contribution to society.

The Prisons White Paper – the Deputy Prime Minister’s strategy to reduce recidivism and ensure public safety – emphasizes the work of prisoners both behind bars and upon release, with new individual goals for prison managers.

And in March, 20 major companies, including Lotus Cars and Sodexo, pledged to lead new Prison Employment Advisory Councils – acting as a link between prisons and employers to ensure offenders use their time in jail to learn the skills they need to head straight to work on the way out.

Over the next 2 years, we will also:

  • Hire new education, labor and skills specialists to improve education and training in prisons to enable more offenders to work after release
  • Set up a new career innovation fund to help prisons work with more employers and meet the needs of local businesses and the economy and facilitate the transition from prison to employment
  • Revise literary education in prisons to improve the reading and writing skills of all offenders so that they are better placed to find employment

Notes to Editors

New figures released today show:

  • The proportion of released persons employed within six weeks of their release increased by 6 percentage points to 16% between April 2021 and March 2022. This is an increase of more than half (57%).
  • The proportion of those released from police custody employed within six months of their release increased by 9 percentage points to 23% between April 2021 and March 2022. This represents an increase of almost two-thirds (66%)
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