Employing an ex-offender or the formerly incarcerated

Written by The RAC Team
Last updated August 31, 2020

Every year the public looks towards rehabilitative over punitive justice in the UK. However, the biggest stumbling block towards preventing re-offending is the readiness for business to hire the formerly incarcerated.

If you are looking to increase your talent pool and are willing to look towards those who have made and paid for past mistakes, recruiting an ex-offender could be right for you.

Importance of hiring ex-offenders

The social purpose of incarceration is to see those who have committed offences pay for those crimes. However, there is a continued punishment in that ex-offenders cannot get back onto the right track due to having an extra barrier to getting hired.

Numerous studies show a correlation between getting hired soon after leaving incarceration and the likelihood of re-offending. So, the most significant step we can take to discourage re-offending and help the formerly incarcerated to transform their lives is to offer them a second chance, in the form of employment.

Benefits to the company

There are numerous benefits to taking on the formerly incarcerated, despite the notion that it is a purely altruistic venture.

The most significant benefit, which is becoming increasingly resounding, is that of public perception for your company. Studies have found that 79% of the public believe businesses who employ ex-offenders are making a significant positive contribution to society. The effects are displayed in how 92% of such employers agreed that hiring the formerly incarcerated enhanced their reputation. Furthermore, they found that such a reputation often helped them to win new contracts.

On a financial level, hiring ex-offenders is likely to reduce your overall pay bill. The fact that traditional employment channels often overlook them as potential candidates make them far more receptive when given an opportunity.

This includes reports of a better than average work ethic, loyalty and level of absenteeism. Not only will ex-offenders accept lower salaries, but they are going to reduce those potentially devastating costs of rehiring.

How you can hire an ex-offender

There are numerous routes to recruiting the formerly incarcerated, and even the opportunity to hire them before release.

The government’s New Futures Network (NFN) allows you to work with the in-prison JobCentre Plus to get in touch with those who are subject to release soon, including arranging interviews. This scheme gives offenders something to work towards before release and can positively impact their mental health and increase their work ethic.

One significant move you can make to help attract ex-offenders to your listed job roles is to remove requirements to give information on former criminal records. If this seems daunting, you don’t have to have a blanket removal, just for records for certain crimes.

If you would like to find more information on hiring ex-offenders, go to our dedicated guidance and support pages. If you want to get involved in wider campaigns, you should get in contact with Working Chance or Novus, who are both organisations attempting to end re-offending in the UK through employment.

Last Updated: Monday October 12 2020
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