Grace Mehanna, Campaign Director - Employment and Skills, at Business in the Community responds to the Ministry of Justice's new education and employment strategy
"Employers we work with see the potential in recruiting ex-offenders and the New Futures Network will provide a much-needed point of contact for employers with work-relevant skills and experience to offer prisoners. However, it is outside the prison gates where probation and Community Rehabilitation Companies need to be working more closely with employers to enable ex-offenders to gain and sustain work. Reducing the £15 billion a year cost of reoffending to society relies on co-operation from the beginning of an individual’s sentence through to their sustained employment and the Government must concentrate its efforts on improving this pathway.
Our experience supporting people into work shows that the same barriers to employment exist for people with criminal records already in the community as they do for those coming out of custody and so any incentives for employers must apply equally to both these groups. Ban the Box is a clear first step for employers looking to remove those barriers to attract talented people with criminal records to their organisations. We urge employers across the private and public sectors to join the Civil Service and more than 90 employers who have signed up to the campaign."