Call for Suffolk public sector to help ex-offenders

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said the public sector could be helping ex-offen

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said the public sector could be helping ex-offenders back itno work more Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Calls have been made for positions in public projects to be filled by ex-offenders to help them back into employment.

A report presented to Suffolk’s Police and Crime Panel on Friday said that there were challenges to help people who have offended, and offering them purposeful employment could be the answer.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said the current system for helping offenders was not working, and public sector bodies in Suffolk could help do their bit.

Mr Passmore said opportunities such as a handful of construction jobs could be offered to trained ex-offenders on council housebuilding projects.

“There is nothing more depressing seeing blokes in their 30s who have been eight or nine times in prison – I have to say the system isn’t working,” he said.

“Very often they would have come from a very difficult background, but they can be really loyal staff and work with you if you give them the right framework.

“Timpson employ thousands of ex-offenders and they are very grateful for that.

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“I am absolutely convinced the evidence is there and I don’t understand why the whole of the public sector is ambivalent to looking at the social and economic value of that.”

The panel gave its backing to the idea, and is now set to come up with a list of public sector organisations in Suffolk it plans to write to.

Mr Passmore said that voluntary sector organisations could often deliver better outcomes for ex-offenders than statutory bodies.

The report presented to the panel said that a good working relationship between voluntary sector organisations and youth offender services or prisons was key to helping people.

Among those highlighted for their success in preventing re-offending were the Better Lives project at the Museum of East Anglian Life – which gave skills in decorating and customer service, Caring Dads which has helped men displaying abusive behaviour improve their relationships, and Ipswich Community Media’s work with young offenders through media projects.

Mr Passmore added: “I think there is a way to make a difference in Suffolk. We have to look at the technicalities but if other people like Timpson can do it we can do the same.”

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