Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Retailers urge businesses to hire ex-offenders

Leading retailers including Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland have written a letter to the Financial Times urging businesses to back the government’s plans to provide work and training for ex-offenders.

The letter, also signed by business luminaries including Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson, points out that 70% of people leaving prison re-offend within a year, but this figure reduces to 22% for ex-offenders who go into a full-time job.

It reads: “Having a conviction is undoubtedly a major handicap for a job seeker, and UK companies are often reluctant to provide the second chance that prison leavers so desperately need.”

The group said it is personality that matters most and an ex-offender can often be as reliable as other recruits.

The group is also backing the government’s call to introduce real work into prison so offenders can gain some relevant skills and work experience.

The letter said: “We would like to encourage more companies to proactively recruit ex-offenders. If we want to reduce crime, we need to reduce the number of criminals. The single most effective way of doing this is to get them into lawful, constructive employment. If many more companies take this opportunity, then many more people leaving prison will find a purpose in life through worthwhile employment, and everyone will benefit.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.