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Education Employment and Training

Why focus on Education, Training and Employment (ETE)…?

There is a large body of research suggesting employment may reduce the likelihood of re-offending, however offenders leaving custody face significant barriers to finding and staying in work.

The stats

After release from custody, offenders tend to have employment levels well below the general population.

Two years after release from custody in 2008:

  • 15% of offenders were in P45 employment
  • 29% of offenders starting a P45 employment spell at some point in the two years following their release from custody

Linked to this, offenders also typically have higher levels of out-of-work benefits receipt than in the general population.

Two years after release from custody in 2008:

  • 47% of offenders were receiving a DWP out-of-work benefit
  •  75% of offenders starting a new claim to an out-of-work benefit at some point in the two years following their release.


This compares to just 12% of the general working-age population (16-64 years) in receipt of an out-of-work benefit at any one time.

Other concerns

In addition to the direct effects of their ex-offender status (such as employer discrimination due to criminal record), studies suggest that the barriers to work for offenders include a range of other factors such as

  • health problems
  • substance misuse
  • housing problems and homelessness
  • poor basic skills
  • low levels of qualifications
  • self-confidence and motivation to find work
  • lack of work experience.

Does having a job or engaging in purposeful activity really reduce reoffending?

Re-offending rates are substantially higher for offenders who do not enter P45 employment after release from custody than for those who do. In some studies the re-offending rate is more than twice as high for offenders without a P45 employment spell after release compared to those who do enter P45 employment.

  •  69% of offenders without P45 employment and a sentence of less than one year will reoffend compared to 32% of offenders with P45 employment reoffend
  •  43% of offenders without P45 employment and a sentence of over 1 year go on to offend compared with, 18% of offenders who do have P45 employment.

 
Being engaged in ETE reduces time availability for individuals to be drawn into offending; it also removes some of the financial aspects of involvement in crime, whilst providing something tangible to lose. However, many offenders are not ready to engage in ETE due to other factors listed above and therefore it is essential that people are effectively and appropriately supported into activity that is suited to them and their current situation. If not there is a risk of failure which could ultimately result in increased offending.

(Ministry of Justice, 2011a)


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