It’s a widely-quoted statistic that the cost of re-offending stacks up to a staggering £13bn per year (Home Office). That’s not the cost to the Government – it’s the cost to the taxpayer and the wider economy.
Unfortunately that figure shows little sign of falling, given the prison population rose by 92% between 1993 and 2015, and 46% of adults are reconvicted within one year of release (Prison Reform Trust).
So what more can be done?
At Offploy, we’re reaching out to businesses and urging you to do more. It’s easy – and understandable – to tut at the re-offending stats. But together, we have the potential to break the cycle. By being practical, and each doing our bit, we can support the reformation of people that have made foolish mistakes. We can give them a second chance, enable them to provide for their families by legitimate means, and reduce the cost of their erred ways, at the same time.
Offploy is also campaigning tirelessly for prisons to think a little differently. Rather than spending money on razor wire – even though the vast amount of criminals don’t want to break out of prison – why don’t they plough the funds into ROTL schemes? Release on Temporary Licence initiatives have a 99.95% success rate yet still they’re not adopted in all prisons.
We’re reaching out to businesses and urging you to do more.
One prison stopped the programme because they wanted to avoid ‘risk’. On the face of it, this is understandable – the mission of every prison is to protect the community. But many offenders aren’t actually a risk. If someone has committed personal fraud for example, they wouldn’t pose a danger to others if they volunteered at a community centre. There is surely a greater risk associated with them being constitutionalised, losing their self-esteem and struggling to reintegrate into the workplace when they are eventually released.
Offenders are keen to participate in ROTL schemes, but the opportunities simply don’t exist. It’s a shame really – one prison, for example, has 732 inmates who are ripe for day release work as they’ve all been approved by probation, and there is a business park nearby with organisations struggling to recruit. Why don’t we address this problem and bridge the gap? Why doesn’t the Justice Secretary give prisons targets to secure these employment opportunities and support the rehabilitation revolution, with the help of commercial organisations that can aid the process?
That’s our thinking anyway. And our efforts are already underway. Watch this space…