Ex-prisoners to work in retail and logistics

Former prisoners to be trained to work in stores and offices Credit: Artificial Photography, Unsplash

AROUND 50,000 people are released from prison every year. One of the most difficult challenges after leaving prison is to find employment, due to many employers who are reluctant to contract someone with a criminal record.

Now in the UK, retail and logistics firms are aiming to fill vacancies with prison leavers, with large companies such as DHL, the Co-op, Iceland , Greggs and B&Q getting on board with the push to employ ex-prisoners through the Unlocking Employment Campaign.

A two-week employment push will include training that will help fill in any skills gaps and help them to reintegrate into society. Studies have shown that ex-prisoners in work are less likely to reoffend and end up back in the prison system. Research has shown that those in full-time jobs are up to nine percentage points less likely to commit another crime.

There are many businesses in the UK that employ ex-offenders, and 90% of the businesses surveyed reported that their employees were motivated and trustworthy. They also report that their employees tend to stay with them for longer, increasing staff retention and reducing overall recruitment costs.

The ‘Unlocking Retail and Logistics’ events were held across England and Wales with over 30 prisons across the country with the aim of helping UK businesses to fill approximately 1 million vacancies in the workforce by employing qualified ex-prisoners.

Damian Hinds, the Prisons Minister said that it will also help “to grow the economy” and help tackle the £18 billion annual cost of reoffending and reduce crime levels.

The Prison Service has already launched four campaigns for their New Futures Network to help ex-prisoners find employment in construction, logistics, and hospitality sectors. Overall, statistics from March 2023 have shown that 30% prison leavers are able to find a job within 6 months of being released in comparison with 14% in April 2021 indicating that attitudes are changing towards prison leavers and that providing them with training, opportunities and secure employment is another way to counter re-offending, fight crime and rehabilitate people who have served time, giving them a second chance in life.

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Written by

Lisa Zeffertt

Lisa is British, born in Hong Kong and has lived in many countries including the UK, Hong Kong, Cyprus, and Thailand, Spain has been her home for the past 10 years. After graduating with a BA in English Literature and Art History, she has worked in different sectors, most recently as a ghostwriter and translator for six years Writing is one of her passions, as well as working in both Spanish (fluent) and English.