Nacro, the crime reduction charity, comments on the government's launch to extend the Work Programme to offenders leaving prison.
Nacro's Strategic Development Director, Graham Beech, said:
'Nacro welcomes any measures which help offenders get on the employment ladder. Getting a job dramatically reduces the risk of offending – by between a third and a half. But we know that offenders are eight times more likely to be unemployed than other people and it’s critical that we work to address this. The measures launched yesterday are an important step forward, moving people when they leave prison into employment and ultimately helping them to put their offending behind them.
'However, we need to remember that many people are not ready to enter the workplace immediately after they leave prison. They will need extra, specialist help in order to get onto the job ladder. This means giving people the chance to make the right choices at the prison gate: effective options to tackle their problems with alcohol and or drugs, to find and keep accommodation or to challenge the day-to-day problems that caused them to commit crime in the first place. If we address these other factors at the same time then we have a much better chance of keeping people in work and moving them on from crime.
'We are calling on the government to ensure that the Work Programme recognises this and provides services that address the multiple barriers facing people coming out of prison so that, given time, they will be able to move away from crime, into gainful employment and make a positive contribution to the community.'