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The following is a letter to insidetime, from issue May 2012

Give us a chance

From Michael Allen - HMP Forest Bank

One in three people on the dole have a criminal record, but that should be plain logic given that previous convictions are a barrier to employment. Once someone has served a prison sentence their employment prospects are very limited. But this doesn’t make the dole claimant a scrounger, it just makes them unemployable and until the government comes up with a better system of rehabilitation this is a problem that will not go away. I really tried my best to get a job last time I was released. I handed my CV to almost 100 employers, applied for jobs on the web, shop windows, jobcentre, and put my name down with 5 agencies in my local area – but nothing. I lost the will to go on and drove like an idiot and now I find myself back in jail. Now I’m scared and worried that it will be the same when I am released again in August. Something really needs to be done to help ex offenders get back into employment. I’m 22 years old and I really do want to change and not spend the rest of my years in prison. I suspect that most employers think ‘once a criminal, always a criminal’ but this is definitely not the case. Given the chance I believe many ex offenders want to change, myself included, so please give us a chance.



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Comments about this letter

2/5/2012 Shippy -

I was released from prison on Licence in November 2010, i have applied for countless jobs, even had help from Pertemps, to get my Forklift licence, CSCS card and Health and Safety Passport, all to boost my prospects of gaining unemployment, and here i am 17 months later, STILL looking. i have had over 20 interviews, which all went well, until my criminal record got brought up, then although the potential employer was all nice, my application received the *unsuccessful" stamp of disapproval, but in order to get your benefits, you still have to keep looking for employment. I know several ex prisoners that have been given that chance by an employer and they are at the top of their game, all you can do is keep trying.

18/5/2012 amanda jane

Its sad to read your posts..but dont give up..my son was released 3 and a half weeks ago and was looking daily for jobs and applying for so many..he also experienced intreviews that went well until the dreaded question about criminal record..so we changed our approach and actually wrote on his cv about his criminal record and how he made a mistake and wants a change and turn his life around etc...the next application he filled in he put in his cv ..at least if they wernt interested they wouldnt call him for a interview...he got a call for interview and actually got the full time job..so maybe honesty from the start is what employers respect..it may be worth a try for you guys ...good luck i think all young offenders deserve a chance .dont give up..

20/5/2012 Hammy ,,,,,,,,,,,Leeds

Im just reading the comments wrote by Amanda Jane
I to have recentley been released on hdc (tag)
I have had about four interviews in the last three months.The first two i got the job,but because of the times i had to start i had to ask for a letter so as to get my curfew hours changed.
When i was asked why i needed a letter i told them that i committed a crime 20 years ago and i have just been caught for it (robbery) and i have not been in trouble since.
Well what do you think happened.........they took the jobs back off me.
The next interview i was straight up front and more than qualified to do the tasks in hand..What happened i didnt get the job.
So is honestey about your convictions allways the best policy..I myself think not,i would say to all job hunters just play it by the way you think its going at the interview.I am off hdc in a few weeks so hopefuly i will gain employment then.

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Summary of letters in the Mailbag for May 2012
Drug dealers as bad as child abusers
Undesirables
Drowning in debt
Sports Relief needed
34 years in solitary
SCCRC and the Cadder ruling
SOTP making people worse
All this will not end well
Silly Rules
No parole on anti-depressantsí
What happened to common sense
IPPs not the only ones over tariff
3 years over Tariff and stuck in limbo
Prisoners fighting back
Thanks to the library staff at HMP Manchester
Worried about leaving prison
Help
Current page: Give us a chance
The Plot Thickens
Writing to Leveson
Why no handkerchiefs
Give us toilet roll and scrap psychology
Robbed blind by canteen prices
Cockroach city
Enhanced not worth a light
DHLs dirty tricks
Not human, just a statistic
Get a grip
You do not understand
Very cross

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