I’ve been trying to get a job. I don’t know whether to tell them about the record or not. Some say, ‘Tell them’. Others say ‘Don’t tell them’. (XP8)
I went for a job and had to fill in a form and it asked about criminal convictions and I ticked the box because although I’ve had it explained to me I still don’t understand about ‘spent’ and ‘unspent’ convictions. I didn’t get the job. (Laughs) (XP13)
I just can’t see my future, I want a future, but it scares the hell out of me thinking about it. I can’t see one. (XP12)
And although not one of the prisoners mentioned them, there are, of course, other factors at work, militating against the employment of ex-prisoners – the informal stigma of a conviction, the formal legal and insurance company prohibitions against employing people convicted of certain crimes in certain jobs, and the very real issues of risk and responsibility that are likely to be raised in the minds of most people when they are considering whether or not to make an appointment, especially in a competitive labour market.
Sub hypothesis 4.3. The continuity between prison/post-prison services and the and coordination of all services relevant to prisoner resettlement is inadequate.
Hypothesis sustained. What we need is implementation rather than rhetoric, and there’ll only be implementation with commitment and resources. Regional Resettlement areas are supposed to co-ordinate all regional resettlement strategies and pathways for prisoners. Of course, it’s not clear how prisoners are going to be set on the pathways! (A. 20)
Drugs detox appointments are often not made until the day the woman is released – or often not at all. No connection is made with social services and women still come out homeless. (A.12)
There is still a lack of knowledge and communication about what is available. All the agencies work according to their own rules and regulations. There are territorial disputes between them. (A.17)
They are not joined up. There is little long term planning and at the moment what a woman gets is a post-code lottery. What is needed is one stop provision. Projects are too choosey. If women don’t fit any organisation’s definitions, there is nowhere for her to go. Some places only want drug users, some if they are mentally ill but not drug users. They seldom want women with more than one problem. But most women have more than one problem. (A.22)
Whatever they say, prisons, probation, the lot – we work in isolation. (A.4)
There is more talk about joined-up work and little pockets are joining up. But there is no proper resettlement strategy. There’s plenty of ‘policy’, but no strategy. Where are the outcomes? Until the prison population is reduced, there is no chance of tailoring either custody or resettlement according to any strategy. (A.10)
There is buck-passing between Departments. Each Department has different priorities and budgets. But attempting to make sense of the whole system is a massive job. The Prison Service has over 23,000 contractors. We need to get the underlying infrastructure right, but there remain the issues of different budget interests and different Departmental targets. (A.25)
The absolute main issue at present is that if women are released from prison having done a drugs programme, they may have to wait weeks before they get on a programme outside prison. (A.25)
Throughcare is the biggest gap. The stigma that affects all prisoners still affects all the agencies helping them. Agencies that want to help them get stigmatised for helping prisoners; other agencies then don’t want to help them for fear of being stigmatised themselves. (A.10)