The importance of employment in the rehabilitation of offenders
How does employment work towards offender rehabilitation?
Each year, in England and Wales, approximately 45,000 ex-offenders will return to society after their sentence. Around 17% of them will be unemployed and around 23%-31% will reoffend within two years.
Research tells us that having stable employment is important to an ex-offender’s rehabilitation journey back into society. Employment opportunities provides an offender with:
● Earning power
● Structured routine
● Social contact
● Sense of purpose and direction
● Improved mental health
● Reintegration into society
● A life away from drugs and alcohol
● A life away from offending behaviour
It has a direct effect on reducing reoffending, cutting the number of crimes committed in our communities.
Novus’s role in prison rehabilitation programmes
As an organisation we have met and worked with thousands of offenders. The best possible outcome for those of us who have worked in prison learning is never seeing those offenders again (and we mean that in the nicest possible way!).
Reducing reoffending is what we’re all working towards; we don’t want to see offenders return to prison having committed further offences. Our aim is to work with them in such a way that they learn not only from their mistakes, but learn and develop the skills they need to succeed on their release.
It sounds easy, but it’s not. It’s not easy for offenders, and it certainly isn’t something which organisations like Novus can achieve alone. Reducing reoffending is a complex issue and one which requires many people working together to address, both from within the criminal justice system and beyond.
What role do employers have in offender rehabilitation programmes in prison?
We know that most employers want to do the right thing – for their business, their customers and for their employees. They also have the chance to do the right thing for society and for their own community; they can open their doors to an ex-offender.
We’ve been working with the London Employer Engagement Partnership Group to help make this happen. If we can better understand employer’s needs, we can work inside prisons to help offenders gain the skills they need before they’re released.
With the average cost of recruiting and training a new employee estimated at £3,000, we can help to create a recruitment pipeline that benefits everyone – employers, offenders and the community.
We can even train offenders in the specific skills needed by an employer, and this is already happening in industries from catering and hospitality to construction.
The benefits for employers who recruit ex-offenders
The prospect of being able to move into employment on release is incredibly motivating for an offender and begins to create a sense of loyalty towards an employer. Giving someone a second chance at this point in their life will be paid back tenfold in hard work, reliability and commitment. This process also brings diversity into the workplace and enables other employees to see their company live its own values. It can be an incredibly positive experience for all involved.
Employers may believe that ex-offenders lack soft skills, such as honesty or reliability, but these perceptions are challenged by employers’ actual experience. Government research has shown that employers can see the benefits of recruiting through the prison sector:
- 86% of employers record positive experiences with ex-offenders
- 86% say offenders settle into work well with colleagues
- 82% say offenders perform well
If you want to find out more about how you can rehabilitate ex-offenders and support your community, contact Novus today.