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From inmates to entrepreneurs

Aug 09, 2018

In a new report, the Centre for Entrepreneurship looks at how entrepreneurship can help ex-prisoners re-integrate with society.

One of the major challenges for ex-prisoners is the struggle to get a job on civvy street, because earning a living is so vital for integrating into society. Jobs don’t just provide an income, they also provide stability, and a source of pride. Without one, most ex-offenders feel they have little choice - financially and emotionally – than to turn back to a life of crime.

And finding employment for newly released prisoners isn’t just in their best interests. It’s good for all of us. Currently, 45% of all released inmates reoffend within a year – the legal and penal costs of which come to over £4.5 billion. Most of this bill is footed by the taxpayer, and that’s before the impacts of crime and antisocial behaviour are taken into account.

While many businesses are understandably reluctant to take on employees with criminal records, entrepreneurship is unique in that it’s open to everyone. It’s flexible, and gives prisoners a chance to work on those skills which engage and fulfil them. This in turn makes them more likely to stick at their chosen path!

The Centre for Entrepreneurship report covers successful schemes like the Prison Entrepreneurship Program in Texas and Enterprise Exchange in the UK. It argues that the UK government should be pouring more resources into prison entrepreneurship programs – pointing out that doing so could potentially save the taxpayer billions. It also makes specific recommendations on how entrepreneurship could be taught successfully within a prison environment.

Want to find out more? Then download the report here.