Supporting ex-offenders back into work

12 Mar 2024

Supporting ex-offenders get back into work is a great way to help prevent re-offending. In fact 40% employers say hiring ex-offenders has helped their company become more socially responsible and most people find gaining a job helps them turn their back on crime. 

Yet only 17% of ex-offenders get back into work within 12 months of leaving prison, highlighting that there’s more that could be done.   

Employers are missing the opportunity to hire highly talented people due to them being overlooked because of their criminal record. Here we explore the challenges people face and the support they could be provided in getting back to work. 

The challenges   

People with a criminal record face a lot of challenges when re-entering society, making it even more difficult to abandon crime altogether. 

Unfortunately, due to the stigma around committing a crime a lot of employers won’t hire someone who has previously offended. 30% of businesses30% of businesses admit to not employing anyone with a criminal record even though 62% of businesses say they’re struggling to fill roles. 

25% of employers say they would worry about the safety of their other staff members if they hired someone with a criminal conviction 17% of employers say they would be open to employing an ex-offender if their position isn’t filled within 6 months.  This data highlights the stereotypes ex-offenders still face, and how they are viewed as a last resort by some employers.  

It can also be difficult to get a role if people don’t have the required basic skills, supportive networks, or stable accommodation.  

Our mission is to work with offenders to transform their lives, break the cycle of re-offending and build safer communities. We offer a whole-person approach where we support people with their personal wellbeing, accommodation, health and education as well as training, employment and more.  

The benefits of employing someone with a criminal record 

While many people worry about employing someone with a criminal record, there’s a lot of benefits that can positively impact your company, the offender and society. Benefits include: 


Improving staff retention 

81% of businesses say that hiring ex-offenders has helped their business. Marks & Spencers say that when higher value is placed on having a job, along with the desire to stay out of prison it can cause employees to be more loyal and therefore boosts employee retention. 

It can decrease the number of staff absences  

Many employers worry about ex-offenders being untrustworthy and not being truthful, however this isn’t always the case. Over half of employers of ex-offenders positively rate their attendance and describe them as trustworthy and reliable. 

It strengthens communities  

Giving people job opportunities actively prevents re-offending, helping to build stronger communities and reduce crime. This also helps ex-offenders build a positive life, improve mental and physical health and rebuild relationships.  

How to support ex-offenders back into work 

When supporting ex-offenders back into work there are a few things you can do, such as: 

Offer practical advice  

You can help ex-offenders get back into the world of work through offering help with things like: 

We have extensive experience of delivering services to people in the justice system. We deliver services on behalf of the Ministry of Justice, His Majesty’s Probation Service and Prisons, leading local chains and partner networks to deliver targeted, personalised support for ex-offenders.  

Provide second chance hiring  

You can offer opportunities to ex-offenders where they’re given a fair chance during the interview and application processes. You can do this by removing questions about criminal history in the initial application. 

You should also explain any background checks and policies your company must ensure the employee or candidate is fully aware of the checks you’re undertaking.  

To learn more about the justice system services we offer, read our brochure. 

Jamie who took part in our Commissioned Rehabilitative Services says "I've been through the system my whole life. From getting arrested, to court rooms, to being on probation. I also had mental health problems. you're actually getting through problems, you're actually looking for a solution and thinking about the future. I've never had that. ... I've always felt like I've never been given a chance by the system. Now I've been given a chance, I'm going to show that it was right to give it to me." 

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