A Parliament Committee’s report show’s that government policy is failing people with convictions.
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People with convictions in the community, and those leaving prison, do not get adequate support to help them turn their lives around and overcome the negative barriers associated with having a criminal record.
We set out more details of the problems as we see them in our submission to the Work and Pensions inquiry in 2016.
What we think needs to change
Government, prisons, probation providers and others need to improve the support for individuals with a criminal record to help them secure meaningful employment. This means:
Government stating clearly who has ultimately responsibility for helping prison leavers into work
Everyone being released from prison should understand their criminal record and the impact this will have. This includes understanding the impact of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, and being confident in if, what, when and how to disclose to employers
Everyone whose role it is to provide advice and support on employment issues should have the knowledge, skills and confidence to advise on issues relating to criminal records.
All Jobcentres should have a specified person who specialises in helping people with criminal records into employment and must have expertise on matters such as disclosure of convictions.
Prisons should develop strong links with employers, including local businesses, and offer opportunities with real employers
CRC’s should be required to track the outcomes of the people they help, including whether they have helped them into work.
For those prison leavers who cannot work, claims for ESA should be made in prison and paid on day one of release.
Make a prison leavers’ first month’s entitlement to Universal Credit available on daily one of release
We also made a number of specific recommendations in our submission to the Work and Pensions inquiry in 2016.
(We also think that more needs to be done to support employers to recruit people with convictions. Find out more about this.)
What we’re doing
We are working with the government to take forward the recommendations made by the Work and Pensions Committee in their inquiry into support for offenders.
On a practical level, we provide a range of training workshops and courses to practitioners on criminal record and disclosure issues.
The latest on this issue can be found at the top of this page. You can also find below the latest from Twitter, using the hashtag #SupportforPWCRs (although we cannot endorse what gets displayed here).
Case of Jimmy – Job centre simply passing on people that are looking for help finding work
December 2016 – We issued a response to the report published by the Work and Pensions Committee on the support for ex-offenders, which calls on government to drastically improve the support provided to people released from prison and do more to encourage employers to recruit people with convictions
September 2016 – We gave oral evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee’s Inquiry into the support for ex-offenders and submitted the results and analysis of a survey we conducted of people who had left prison
May 2016 – We submitted written evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee’s Inquiry into the support for ex-offenders.
Useful links, resources and publications
Oral evidence by Unlock to Work and Pensions Committee (September 2016)
Results and analysis of survey (September 2016)
Support for ex-offenders inquiry – Unlock response (April 2016)
For more information
- Practical self-help information for people with convictions – We have information on the support available to help people get into work on our information site
- Personal experiences – We have posts relating to the support people receive on our online magazine, theRecord
- Discuss this issue – Share your views and experiences on our online forum