Wasting time | Campaigning to change ROTL | Nacro
Person doing metal welding

Wasting Time

At Nacro, we believe that rehabilitation must be at the heart of an effective justice system. And that for people who enter the criminal justice system it should be the start of building something better, not a road to nowhere.

For people coming out of prison, having a job is vital to start rebuilding their lives. However, 70% of people remain unemployed six months after they leave prison.

To ensure more people who leave prison are able to find work, prisons need to give people the support, training and experience to set them up to get a job when they get out.

There are some good training and employment schemes in prison, but it remains the case that only about half of people in prison are in employment or training. And often the work that people do in prison does not prepare them for work in the outside world. This is a wasted opportunity for rehabilitation.

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Watch our #WastingTime campaign video

For those who have managed to get a job in prison, the prison work day does not reflect a typical work day in the outside world.

It’s not doing time, it’s #WastingTime.

  • 70 %

    of prison leavers remain unemployed after six months

  • 50 %

    of people in prison are not in work, training or education

I’ve been in here for 15 months and I’ve never had a job. I keep applying but don’t get anything. Other people that have come in after me have been given jobs. I’ve had to survive on £2.50 per week for all this time.
Person currently in prison

Three key changes for better work and training in prison

People must be provided with a working pattern that, as far as is possible, mimics the working day on the outside. It would prepare people for work in the outside world and encourage more outside employers to set up workshops in prison.

People in prison can be paid less than £10 per week. We want to see a national pay scale for people in prison, so they can save for release, buy the things that they need and pay for telephone calls to keep in touch with friends and family.

It needs to become the norm that all people in prison who are eligible have genuine opportunities to be released during the day to enable them to work in the community and earn a real wage.

Justice ExChange Briefing on Work and Wages in Prison

To create this briefing, we worked with members of our Justice ExChange who have experiences of working in prison.