"A second chance": Ex-offenders in Guernsey helped back into work by local businesses

ITV Channel's Roisin Gauson reports...

A scheme in Guernsey is helping people with a criminal record start a new life by offering them employment opportunities.

Prisoners who are out on temporary release are given the chance to work at a number of participating businesses with the aim of preparing them for re-entering the job market.

Over the past year the scheme has helped twenty-one ex-offenders find full time employment.

Tom Batiste, who served prison time for importing cannabis, initially started working at the building supplier Norman Piette when he was on day release. He says the scheme has been a significant help to him.

"When I first came here I had no background in anything" he says. "I mean, I barely knew how to use a screwdriver correctly. With having just one arm, I'd never really picked up a tool or anything really."

He added, that the scheme “definitely makes a big difference" and that "when I came out I didn't feel anxious about leaving prison. I left, I was straight back in to work, it was an easy exchange."

Simon Taylor, who is the manager for Norman Piette, says "it's one of the best things we have ever done. Yes, you are giving people a second chance but we treat them exactly the same as we treat any other new employee and it's worked a treat for us"

He added that "We'd love them to stay forever if they could".

John De Carteret, who is the governor of Guernsey prison says that prisoners are vetted carefully for before they are allowed to participate in the scheme and says "It's not a right. It's not something that somebody automatically qualifies for".

He added that "I think it's an enormous benefit to Guernsey that we've got employers that have got that type of attitude that don't want to stigmatize people because they've come into prison for a particular offence"

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