Nacro responds: ‘We must be more ambitious’

Published:

Statistics released on the 23rd of May 2023 show that the amount of people in work after leaving has increased at both the six week and six month markers.

Nacro’s comment

Helen Berresford, director of External Engagement, said: “While today’s statistics show a welcome increase in the number of prison leavers in work, seven in ten people are still unemployed six months after their release. We must be more ambitious for getting those leaving prison into work. Employment is proven to reduce reoffending because it gives people purpose, routine, and the best chance at a second chance.

To increase the amount of people in work after prison, we must also turn our attention to work in prison. By increasing work opportunities in prison, increasing the time spent in work, and increasing opportunities to give people day release from prison to attend work, we can increase the amount of people leaving prison ready to get into work. This will help reducing reoffending, which costs our economy around £18bn a year.”

What do the statistics show?

Six weeks post-custody:

  • 19.4% of prison leavers were in work between April 2022-March 2023
  • The proportion of people released from prison in work has risen by 9.6 percentage points across a two year period from 2021

Six months post-custody:

  • 30.4% of prison leavers were in work between April 2022-March 2023
  • The proportion of people released from prison in work has risen by 16.3 percentage points across a two year period from 2021

Why is work important?

When someone is in work, it reduces their risk of reoffending by around 10 percentage points. It also gives them a routine, purpose and a stake in the community. Being in work is a vital part of the person resettlement and rehabilitation journey and it is one of the factors giving people the best chance at a second chance.

We have long campaigned for better access to work for people both in and leaving prison. When a prison leaver is in work, it reduces the chance of them reoffending by around 10 percentage points. When someone has work upon leaving prison, it gives them a meaningful stake in the community, it also opens up options for housing and gives them a positive foundation on which to build a new life. Reoffending costs around £18bn a year, and work is one vital way we can help reduce that bill.

In the Government’s Prisons White Paper promised a series of measures to help get people in prison into work, including employment boards, increased use of release-on-temporary-license (ROTL) and improving vocational skills in prisons.

What is currently happening to help improve work opportunities?

In 2022, the Government rolled out Employment Boards across all 92 resettlement prisons in England and Wales.

Employment boards link prisons to leading business figures who can offer their expertise on the skills, qualifications and training needed to help prisoners re-enter the workforce.

Using these insights, prisons can tailor their training and workshops to match local labour market demands so people are job-ready when they walk out the prison gate. Most employment boards will also offer key skill workshops including CV writing and interview techniques. Dedicated job experts will walk prisoners through job applications and give them interview training so they are ready to find jobs in booming sectors such as construction, haulage, and logistics.

Nacro runs the Criminal Record Support Service, which advises businesses and employers on how to hire people with criminal records and the disclosure system. It also advises people with criminal records on the disclosure system, work, and their criminal record.

Find out more

Around our justice campaign work

The Criminal Record Support Service