Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Government unveils plans to get more prisoners into full-time work

The Government has unveiled a new policy to train prisoners while in custody in order to boost employment opportunities once they've been released.

It claims the new measures will help reduce the annual cost of reoffending of around £15 billion.

However, UK charity Prison Reform Trust have said the new proposals run the risk of becoming empty promises.

In a statement to ITV News, a spokesperson for the trust said: “This is a welcome strategy full to the brim with good intentions. It could make a big difference to the families and communities to which prisoners return on release.

“But almost none of those good intentions set a date for when they will be delivered, or how many people will benefit. We have heard many of these promises before."

The trust has also called for "a National Insurance holiday for employers" who take part in such schemes.

At present 17% of offenders are in P45 employment a year after release.

Justice Secretary David Gauke called on employers Credit: PA

The new strategy will allow prison governors to commission training programmes to match the current job market needs while also providing a vocational option 'Prisoner Apprenticeship Pathway,' for those still in custody.

Ex-offender Luke, who now works in construction for Keltbray, said: "I think if you've got no prospects and nothing to lose, it's very easy to fall back into what you know - a life of crime.

"After my training in prison I'm self-sufficient now. I don't have to rely on anyone, I don't have to claim benefits, I can pay my own rent. It's a good feeling.

"I think for someone who has been in my situation, they've had a lot of time to reflect on where they want to go in life. People like us are committed to prove a point and work hard."

Announcing the strategy Justice Secretary David Gauke called on employers "to look past an offender's conviction to their future potential."

He added: "I want employees, from the shop floor to the boardroom, to call out and challenge employers who turn a blind eye to attracting and representing ex-offenders in their workplace."