Would you hire someone with a criminal record?

Over the weekend I was having a conversation with my family about job hunting and the topic of hiring someone with a criminal record came up.

There are careers due to the nature of work that will automatically require a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks such as teachers, medical staff, government employees etc. Such checks will highlight information if this person has spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC).

Depending on the crime committed would you still consider employing that person? Should a person be allowed that second chance and can people change?

There are those who think certain people can reform and turn their backs on a life of crime to become an asset to society. One way to go about starting this change is to train offenders.

Take cooking for example, heard of ‘The Clink Restaurant’? From the chef to the waiters, staff are all offenders housed in the prison next door to the restaurant. Much of the ingredients used come from the prison gardens maintained by prisoners. Inmates work towards qualifications in hospitality and horticulture.

Upon leaving the prison ex-offenders are helped to find employment in the hospitality industry.

“The charity said fewer than 30% of those participating in the scheme had found themselves back behind bars, compared with the UK average reoffending rate of 61%.”

Bearing in mind the Clink project has been running since 2009 and the most recent restaurant was opened September this year, Gordon Ramsay decided to have a go at reforming prisoners through the art of baking. It would seem that his approach may not have had the same effect as the clink projects though ..’the inmates’ business is beginning to take off with 11 branches of Caffé Nero in London now stocking their cakes and wraps.

I was browsing through WordPress and came across a blog on Blue Sky Development and Regeneration. This organisation ’ …offers work and training to people coming out of prison offering them the opportunity to play a part in society.

The Clink charity and Blue Sky are just two that I have touched on. There are other UK organisations such as Nacro and UNLOCK trying to reform offenders and give them the skills to go down a more positive path. Both organisations have statistics to back up their claims that those that have gained the skills and placed in employment are less likely to re-offend.

Those that have taken part in these schemes have been helped to find a job, someone decided they were worth the risk. Not all employers will feel the same way.

I’ve not ever been in a position where I have to power to decide who fills a job role but I know me. If I was faced with the decision of whether to employ someone with a criminal past I wold need to weigh out the pros and cons, what was the offence they were charged with and consider if without the record would they would be suitable for the job. It would be easy to say a straight out ‘no’, but is this necessarily the right attitude to have? Naturally your mind wanders to the victim (s) of the crime committed and whether this person deserves the opportunity to better themselves or should they and those around them be made to suffer for their past mistakes?

I don’t think there is a clear-cut answer and every situation will be different. There are so many different factosThere are those who’s crimes are completely unforgivable that you would not want to breathe the same air as them let alone work with them. What about the ones who just need that one person to have a bit of faith in them to turn things from a negative to a positive. How many are there willing to be that ‘one person’?

References

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jul/03/high-down-prison-chefs-clink-restaurant

http://www.theclinkcharity.com/the-charity/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-19651916

http://answersfrombigissue.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/blue-sky-for-ex-offenders/

http://www.nacro.org.uk/nacro-now/performance/nacro-in-summary,942,NAP.html

http://www.unlock.org.uk/main.aspx

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