On Tuesday 29 February 2019, Onward launched its latest project, on how to get people leaving prison into lasting, stable employment with a roundtable bringing together leading employers, criminal justice charities and policymakers. It was chaired by Will Tanner and Baroness Gabby Bertin.
The roundtable discussion highlighted some of the key aspects of the debate around reoffending and how to increase sustainable employment for ex-offenders. There was a general consensus around the table that ex-offenders finding work and keeping it were absolutely crucial to reducing recidivism.
There was an acknowledgment that government initiatives have tried and failed to reform the system of rehabilitation countless times. New ideas were needed. The roundtable meeting outlined the key areas of concern on this issue, such as: a need to change the public attitude towards ex-offenders; the requirement for a support system which goes substantially further than the prison gate; a further intertwining of external training by businesses inside the prison walls; a need to get more companies to employ ex-offenders.
A clear message that came out of this discussion was that employers need to be educated about the benefits of employing ex-offenders. An ex-offender’s skills, loyalty and transparency often makes them brilliant employees, where they can contribute to a company both culturally and economically. The event was held under the Chatham House Rule.