HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 cc35-6W
28. Jim Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to help resettled offenders to find work. [55516]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

As part of our strategy to combat social exclusion, we are committed to helping resettled offenders overcome the barriers they face in getting work. Ex-offenders who are in work are half as likely to re-offend as those without a job.

We offer ex-offenders a wide range of help to move into work, including early access to employment programmes such as New Deal and work based learning for adults. Last October we introduced Freshstart, a £3 million initiative to improve the links between prisons and jobcentres and ease the transition from custody into work. In addition, we are also looking to draw resettled offenders who have recovered from drug misuse into our progress2work initiative. Progress2work pathfinders are already up and running in 27 areas and will be rolled out nationally next year.

This autumn we will be piloting further support for ex-offenders, giving them the specialist help they need to make best use of our welfare to work initiatives such as the New Deals.