Employers across the North East learned about the benefits of employing ex-offenders who have turned their back on crime in favour of the workplace.
The Employers Forum for Reducing Re-offending (EFFRR), led by a 17-strong panel of business leaders including James Timpson, chief executive of Timpsons and Roisin Currie, people director at Greggs, is holding a series of seminars to talk about the opportunities and support available.
Tmpson emplys more prison leavers than any other company in the UK.
At this week’s event, presenters were in conversation with offenders and also with local employers, who talked about their positive experiences in recruiting those leaving prison.
Accounts from offenders vary from a split-second decision or a misjudgment, often with catastrophic consequences, to being punished for non-payment of fines. Current figures show that 61pc of people leaving prison re-offend within two years but if they get a job that drops to 19pc.
The spectrum of offending is wide and diverse, but thanks to the support available, many offenders have been able to turn their lives around and successfully re-integrate into the workplace.
Recent figures show that there is a 58.2 per cent re-offending rate for offenders by creating job opportunities for ex-criminals.
The Newcastle event is being held by employment and training experts Pertemps People Development Group in NOMS (National Offender Management Service) providers.
Currie said: “This is one of many seminars we’re holding around the country to inform employers and explore the benefits and support available to those businesses who would consider giving an offender that second chance. Many offenders are stuck with a legacy of a split second decision that changed their lives.
“Not being able to get a job is a major factor in the revolving door of crime and we need to do everything we can to help and support those people back into the world of work thereby reducing the cycle of re-offending. We have some great ex-offenders with their own stories and we’d love for employers to come along and hear them.
“Crucially, come and learn about the fantastic support available to those in the business community who employ an ex-offender and why it is a great business decision that can have a really positive impact in the communities we work and live in.”