The Staffordshire Commissioner has instigated a report to explore how to offer the best employment opportunities for offenders as part of their rehabilitation.
Matthew Ellis’ office has commissioned Stoke-on-Trent Council to undertake a review of current employment and support services for offenders.
Previous assessments undertaken by the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies highlighted unemployment and a lack of suitable career paths were regarded as significant contributors to instances of reoffending.
The county-wide report is being delivered with the aim of improving the employment and training opportunities for offenders as part of their rehabilitation and reintegration back into communities.
The Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Matthew Ellis said: ‘The work we’ve done over the past few months with prisons across the West Midlands shows clearly that employment and stability are critical factors in getting people back into mainstream society and away from committing crime.
‘We have to close the ever-revolving door of criminality – prison, then release and then criminality again. We must break that cycle so those who are prepared to play by society’s rules have the best chance of doing so.
‘This is not about soft options, it is about dealing with the high rates of re-offending historically, in part, because of hopelessness and chaotic lifestyles.
‘Doing this effectively is difficult for all manner of reasons and it won’t always work but the evidence shows more individuals return to playing a productive role in society when they are supported. Reducing or eliminating repeat criminality is beneficial to everyone and this service will help to achieve that.’
Discussions have taken place between partners about the possibility of exploring the development of a new initiative in the county.
The new employment brokerage service would be aimed at improving offenders’ access to gaining employment.
It would also enable a greater proportion of offenders to find jobs as part of a planned programme of rehabilitation.
The report will be completed shortly and a decision made in the New Year.