Christine Townley asks if we are doing all we can to help young offenders

This week the Ministry of Justice admitted we have shamefully high reoffending rates in the UK with almost 50% reoffending within a year of being released from prison.

This doesn’t surprise me as we have been working with young offenders on their release from Secure Training Centres and Young Offenders Institutions for a while. We see the young people coming out of these institutions without the support they need to gain long term accommodation and employment.

Our Toolkit for Life programme runs training sessions for these young people who have an interest in working in construction. We raise their awareness of what sort of jobs there are in the industry, help them with their CV and sometimes even run them to interviews. We are working with companies who are happy to provide paid and unpaid work placements for these people and help us unlock the hidden talent within these young people.

In some places, with the help of organisations such as Construction Youth Trust, the opportunities for young offenders are good. However, we have to ask ourselves if we are doing enough. We would like to see more contractors taking on young offenders within their sites as we know that having secure employment is a key factor in reducing recidivism rates.  We would call on employers, training organisations and the Government to ensure that the number of opportunities are increased and it is only then that we will see the number of offenders being reduced and these young people being given a chance to rebuild their lives.