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Ex-offenders denied rehabilitation in the workplace

Are employers doing enough to help ex-offenders? Working Chance, a social enterprise which helps women ex-offenders find jobs, thinks not.

Writing in the Guardian, Working Chance chief executive Jocelyn Hillman said that getting a job is crucial for rehabilitation, because it improves housing options, where women may be reunited with their children and rebuild their lives.

However, Ms Hillman says it is 'exceptionally difficult' for ex-offenders to obtain employment because many employers, whose commitment to diversity and equality is otherwise impeccable, will simply not hire ex-offenders.

Myths about ex-offenders include the erroneous belief that the law bars employers from offering them a job. 'You can hire someone with a criminal record,' said Ms Hill. 'It is your decision, based on the job, the individual and their suitability/match to the role and the crime, whether you decide to hire them.'

Prejudice also prompts employers to believe they need to get special lockers so that other employees can secure their belongings, says Working Chance. 'Don't discriminate by assuming that all ex-offenders are thieves,' said Ms Hillman. 'The vast majority of Working Chance's candidates, for example, have offences unrelated to theft and none of our candidates have re-offended in the workplace.'

Ex-offenders may repay employers with excellent service, says Working Chance. 'Women in particular, know full well that the odds are stacked against them when finding a job,' said Ms Hillman. 'If they get a job they want to keep it - and their children - so we find that they are extraordinarily motivated and work hard.'

Acas works with employers to help them understand how the Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010 is relevant to their recruitment and selection decisions. Acas also offers training on Recruitment issues, selection and interviewing techniques, and runs a practical one-day session, Human Resource Management for Beginners, covering all the fundamentals.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions page for more information.

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