Recruiting and Employing Offenders, by Del Roy Fletcher, Alan Taylor, Stephen Hughes and Jonathan Breeze

(Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2001), 59+v pp, £13.95, ISBN 1 84263 036 9.Order this book
This report is based on a close study of recruitment practice in 26 companies of varying size, on focus groups in which employers discussed their policies in some detail, and on a postal survey of 400 companies. The researchers encountered many companies now actively recruiting amongst offenders, particularly in London.
The report notes that the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency are being merged into a new agency with ‘Jobcentre Plus’ at its heart, and that it will be the new agency’s task to ensure that offenders are treated fairly in the job recruitment process.
Because the report is based on interviews and correspondence with employers rather than with offenders, it doesn’t ask how offenders view the options open to them when they leave prison. If an offender is on Income Support and on Housing Benefit, then to take a low-paid job might not seem worth the trouble: but it is precisely the social integration which a job provides which many offenders need.
What is needed now is research amongst offenders to ask them what they believe their options to be; and the researchers’ report should address the question: What tax and benefit structure would be required to make employment an attractive option for more offenders ?
Malcolm Torry