What's the risk? Employing young adults with criminal convictions - business brief

This business brief gives a summary of employer-led research on managing risk when looking to employ those with unspent criminal convictions.

This research has been carried out against a backdrop of a youth prison population of which 63% have no previous work experience (Working Links, Prejudged: Tagged for Life, 2010; Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, 2009) and a total prison population of over 86,000 of which 90% has offended before (Ministry of Justice, The problems and needs of newly sentenced prisoners: results from a national survey, 2008).

By talking to a small group of employers we seek to understand some of their concerns when it comes to employing young adults with unspent criminal convictions. The research explores what employers do to minimise and manage the risk of employing from this group and asks whether a standardised risk management process used by prisons, probation and employers (as appropriate) would mitigate concerns and create a proactive response among employers.

Key findings
  • Working in partnership with voluntary organisations is an effective way of sharing risk.
  • Providing work experience opportunties is a good way of selecting appropriate candidates whilst giving them useful experience of work.
  • More work is required to create generic guidance for employers, and channels through which examples of good practice can be shared.