Ex-offenders are receiving no help at all to find work, despite the fact that having a job is one of the most effective ways of preventing re-offending.
In fact, not only are the government doing nothing to help those released from jail but they are actually making it more difficult than ever for ex-offenders by imposing more and more restrictions on them after their release. The end result is that prospective employers cannot be bothered with all the extra formalities imposed by the police and probation officers and don’t even bother to interview those with convictions.
For those convicted of sexual or serious violent offences, the situation is even worse. Anecdotal evidence suggests that fewer than 1 in 10 released sex offenders ever work again. CRB checks, MAPPA, constant supervision and the false presumption that all sex offenders re-offend, which they don’t, make it impossible for employers to take on such people.
This is not the first time that TheOpinionSite.org has raised this problem but the situation is now far worse than ever before.
We Googled “Jobs for ex-offenders UK” and we found plenty of offers; job offers for the prison and probation services that is, not for those with a criminal record.
Vague titles such as ‘Employment Advisor’ or ‘Careers Officer’ were in abundance. We also found numerous organisations who claimed to ‘help’ ex-offenders. However, on making enquiries we found that they didn’t deal with sex offenders or those convicted of violent offences; in other words, those that make up the vast majority of ‘serious’ offenders.
We asked one organisation their reasons for not helping those who find it most difficult of all to find work. We were told, “To be frank, it’s too much hassle, both for us and the employer. By the time the police and everyone else has had a go, the employer is frightened off or the job has already gone.”
And that is the way the system likes it. If an ex-offender has no job, he has no money, no friends and can’t afford to go out. He stays inside and is much easier to control.
There was a time in Britain when, once someone had served their sentence, they were expected to rejoin the community and the world of work. Nowadays though, society would prefer those same people to either rot in jail at the tax payer’s expense or better still, to just drop down dead.
According to the Probation Service, it is not its job to find ex-offenders a job. It provides a ‘Job Club’ in most areas but these do nothing other than teach people how to produce a CV and ‘how to perform in interview’. That no interviews are forthcoming is apparently not the fault of the Probation Service whose purpose is solely that of ‘Public Protection and prevention of re offending‘.
Well, if having a job is acknowledged as being the best way of ensuring that someone does not re-offend then why do they not assist former criminals in finding one?
The answer lies in a change to the role of the Probation Service brought about by the Blair government in 1999. Until then, the job of a probation officer was to ‘befriend and support’ ex prisoners. After Blair, their job was to put them back in prison on the slightest pretext and to justify their action under the label of ‘public protection’.
Tony Blair once famously stood in the House of Commons and proclaimed that he was ‘proud’ that so many released prisoners were being recalled by probation officers.
Nowadays, it seems that the only department responsible for helping ex-offenders back into employment is the Department for Work and Pensions working through Job Centre Plus.
This does not bode well for those released from prison and who are willing to work.
In a letter passed to TheOpinionSite.org, the highly paid ‘Business Strategy and Planning Director‘ of Job Centre Plus, Jacinda Humphrey signing on behalf of the even more highly paid Chief Executive told one ex-sex offender client, “…ultimately, employers must make the decision as to whether they choose to employ you and opportunities in the public sector are extremely limited.”
Some might suggest that the ‘strategy and planning’ undertaken by Humphrey may warrant serious investigation. Others may simply conclude that nobody cares. In truth, both opinions are probably correct.
As the number of unemployed ex-offenders, especially serious offenders continues to increase, as CRB checks continue to bite and politicians, probation officers, MAPPA officials, so called ‘professionals’ and policemen continue to justify their own existence instead of helping those who need it the most, the number of those re-offending also continues to rise.
So we have a self-fulfilling prophecy brought about by a government whose criminal justice system lies to everyone, including itself; a situation that nobody wants to talk about because to solve the problem means helping those with criminal records, not condemning them.