Reducing re-offending through employment

PrisonThere has long been a link identified between employment and offending. The desistence literature suggests that gaining legitimate paid work can reduce offending behaviour. There are a number of reasons why this may be the case, including, that employment distracts from offending, that regular/stable income removes the need to offend, that interaction with non offenders creates a positive influence and a new ‘norm’ as ex-offenders begin to invest their time and effort creating a stake in ‘society’. Counter arguments and theories also exist, but what is clear is that, if employment is to be adopted as a means of reducing re-offending, suitable employment opportunities must be available to offenders and offenders must have the capabilities to obtain and sustain these available employment opportunities.

Perpetuity recently undertook an evaluation of a programme designed to support offenders to improve their level of employability with a view to enabling offenders to obtain sustainable employment. The design of the programme recognised that offenders are particularly remote from the labour market, that they have a high level of need for education and training, and that they experience a number of associated needs (such as poor health, debt, substance misuse, housing issues etc) which affect their ability to obtain and sustain employment. The intention was to support and tackle these needs in order to increase the employability of offenders. Our evaluation encompassed a review of existing project documentation literature, consultation with key stakeholders and analysis of programme data. The findings are intended to inform specifications for future programmes of this nature.

To find out more about our research in the area of reducing reoffending please contact Charlotte Howell on, 0116 222 5555.

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