From education to employment

Joint Effort by DWP and DfES to Address Reoffending by Improving Chances of Employment

A green paper published by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is set to focus the offender learning agenda on improving the skills of former offenders.

One element of the proposal is set to involve employers too. The paper includes a proposal for more relevant training to be designed by and responding to the needs of the employers. This programme will seek to change the figures released by the Home Office, showing that released prisoners are more likely to continue to offend than they are to be rehabilitated, with up to one in five crimes committed by ex-prisoners.

The Cost of Crime

The costs of crime ““ believed to be about £11 billion each year, more than the entire budgetary allocation for Further Education – are such that this move can only be seen as a positive step in the right direction. The figures indicate that a re-offending former prisoner costs the criminal justice system an average of £65,000 per person. The costs continue when they are in prison, estimated at approximately £37,500 each year they are in prison.

Separate research has indicated that a majority of firms are dissuaded from employing ex ““ offenders, even though many ex-offenders possess skills useful to their business. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reveal that a poll shows ex-prisoners to be one of the main groups excluded by bosses from the recruitment process, even though 87% of employers who took on former offenders rated them as at least as productive as other workers.

Ruth Kelly Agrees More Must be Done

Education and Skills Secretary Ruth Kelly MP responded to the report’s findings, saying: “Half of all prisoners have no qualifications at all and more than a third have reading skills below the level of those expected of an 11 year old. Two thirds were unemployed before prison and many have no prospect of finding jobs when they are released. There has been a great deal of progress in the provision of offender training and education in recent years, with increased investment and improved basic skills training for offenders in the community.”

She also recognised that there was a need for further progress if the goal of lowering re ““ offending and of raising participation in education and skills, saying: “But we must do more. We need to be providing opportunities for education and training which lead to skills and qualifications that are meaningful for employers and lead to real jobs.”

Jethro Marsh

Will this change the perception of ex ““ offenders amongst employers? Tell us in the FE Blog

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