Life after prison: BTEG conference

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Britain has some of the worst rates for reoffending amongst western European countries.

Around 70% of offenders reoffend within 2 years of release and the rates for young offenders are around 90%. The Coalition has placed a great emphasis on employment as a critical aspect of the support package offenders need to go straight.

However for BAME offenders, the double hit of their over representation in the prison system and amongst the unemployed can make their task in leading lives away from crime that much harder.

According to the EHRC roughly five times more Black people than White people in England and Wales are imprisoned. The ethnic minority prison population has nearly doubled in a decade: from 11,332 in 1998 to 22,421 in 2008 in England and Wales, although the growth of the ethnic minority prison population has been more gradual since 2005.

With regards to unemployment BAME communities have endured higher levels of unemployment than the white community and this gap has tended to grow during times of recession.

Recent figures seem to have borne this out with unemployment among young black men having doubled in three years, rising from 28.8% in 2008 to 55.9% in the last three months of 2011. For BAME offenders with all of the additional barriers faced by offenders to contend with the discrimination and stigma, the employment market can feel doubly loaded against them.,

There are no easy answers and the government should be commended for placing reducing reoffending rates at the heart of its plans however the historic evidence is that BAME offenders and their dependents receive poorer outcomes and it is unclear as to how it will ensure that the new service delivery arrangements will deliver equitably to all communities.

These are the issues BTEG will be exploring at our conference on 20 June and seeking the views of the audience to inform our policy work. To book a place email mark@bteg.co.uk or Philip@bteg.co.uk or via http://www.bteg.co.uk.

Mark Blake,
Employment, Education, Enterprise and Rehabilitation,
Supporting BAME offenders to change their lives

A one-day conference, 20th June 2012 9.30-3.00, Voluntary Action Islington.

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