Breaking the cycle of reoffending

The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling talks to those involved Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

James McBurnie has a job and hope for the future but until two years ago, he was trapped in a cycle of reofffending.

James spent time in and out of jail until he looked for ways to turn his life around. Then he was invited to take part in a pilot project, aimed at improving the chances of ex-offenders to find long term work.

James was part of a team which refurbished a derelict shop and flat in the Northumberland village of Pegswood.

James now has a full time job, refurbishing run-down properties for the company TCUK. He is seen as a shining example of how schemes like this provide a route out of offending.

The Oswin Project was founded by the Rev Fiona Sample. She says reoffending is measured not only in the negative impact on the men and women themselves, but also on society. She argues that the cost of rehabilitation is far less than the cost of sending someone back to jail.

On a visit to Northumberland, the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling met those involved in the Oswin Project and its partners. Mr Grayling said the scheme showed the role of the voluntary sector in rehabilitation projects and denied it should be funded with public money.

The project's second major scheme will get underway in the coming days. The hope is that it will help other ex-offenders, in the same way it has assisted James McBurnie.

Watch my full report here: