Irish Penal Reform Trust

What's the risk?Employing Young Adults with Criminal Convictions

11th May 2011

This report, published jointly by Business in the Community UK and the Transition to Adulthood Alliance, was produced by consulting with different employers across the UK who have implemented job schemes to support ex-offenders back into work.

Gaining employment is a barrier for most young people who have received a criminal conviction. In addition to this, all employers carry out a risk assessment on prospective employees as to whether they would be suitable for a position. A risk assessment for an individual with an unspent criminal conviction can stand as a significant barrier to employment.

The report states that young people with unspent convictions are among a group that are more likely to under-achieve in education, suffer from mental and physical health problems, and be experience long term unemployment. It is important for businesses to realise that reaching out to young people, to offer them work experience and skills, is a way that employers can directly challenge disadvantage in their own communities.

"By giving a job to someone with a criminal conviction, an employer is potentially helping that person to turn their life around, reducing the amount of tax payer’s money spent on the consequences of offending, and even preventing future criminal activity."

The report states that there is an opportunity for employers to share information on employing ex-offenders, so that more businesses understand the barriers that young people face when trying to get a job. Employers can also offer support and advice to other businesses on choosing the best candidates, who have unspent convictions, for work experience or employment.

Read more:

Respect for rights in the penal system with prison as a last resort.



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