Timpson's give former prisoners a second chance
- 30 Aug
Timpson have recruited 270 members of their staff from jail, many working in the day and returning to their cell at night.
Key cutting company Timpson are giving prisoners a chance to re-enter society and is a pioneer for giving people a second chance. Currently 10% of their workforce are ex-convicts, however they like to call them Foundation Colleagues.
Russell Zecanovsky, 40, is one of these people. He runs the shop just outside Wimbledon station. "I think it's better what Timpson's doing than what the prisons are doing," he says. "I'd been to prison three times before I joined Timpson and I had no rehabilitation at all really. With Timpson they are giving you a career." His crimes were mainly drug-related. "Last time I was inside for growing cannabis," he says. "They said we had a million pounds worth. We didn't, it was half that probably. We'd rented a five-bedroom house and set it up there."
Zecanovsky got 30 months in Wandsworth prison. "If I'd just come out again I would have probably fallen back into the same routine," he says. "You go to job interviews and they ask you if you've got a criminal conviction and if you say yes you're immediately at the bottom of the pile. There's no rehabilitation for prisoners outside prison apart from companies like Timpson that are prepared to give you the chance."
The son of Timpson's chairman John Timpson, James, who is responsible for the employment of former prisoners. He began employing these people 10 years ago. "I was invited to go round Thorncross in Warrington," speaking to The Telegraph, he says. "They gave me a guide, Matthew, who was about 18 and I really liked him. So I said 'when you're out, don't tell anybody, but I'll give you a job'. He's still with us today. He's brilliant."
Timpson says that he did come across some obstacles when recruiting former prisoners and some of them didn't work out quite as well as Zecanovsky. Due to this he kept the fact he was employing former prisoners from everyone except his dad. After he had hired "10 good one" out of around 40 recruits he told the Timpson's senior team. Whilst this was first met with controversy, they soon realised that the former prisoners were actually good employees.
Timpson's now work with around 70 prisons, mainly category C or D which are more relaxed closed and open prisons. They also have three "academies" where prisoner can learn the trade. These academies are in Liverpool, New Hall and Blantyre House jails. Interviews take about 10 minutes. "It is important how they tell me about their offence," says Timpson. "I like the ones where there's a pause, where they know what they've done is wrong. We probably select one out of 10." He avoids "anything to do with gangs" but "we have a few murderers. Those guys I specifically vet. The only ones we employ are someone who murdered their next door neighbour because he was abusing his daughter and a couple of ladies who murdered their partners due to physical violence against them.
"Mostly though it's acquisitive crime or drugs. There's a similar pattern: in care or failed at school, got in with a bad lot, started drugs, drinking, nicking cars, got banged up. Most people we have been to prison more than once. But they get to a stage where they want to get a job and be normal and stop the chaos."
Zecanovsky says that due to his "way of life was if someone does you a favour you owe them. Timpson's done me a big favour. I'd never do anything to upset them." Timpson says he believes that this is why these employees are more loyal and therefore more trusted.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1381980
- 11 Sep
Prisons told to adjust for older inmates
Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen says prisons will have to take on "care home and even hospice" roles in future, reports the BBC. He said: "It is remarkable that the fastest growing segment of the prison...
- 31 Jul
Charities are best at reducing re-offending
A report by charity thinktank New Philanthropy Capital has found that 28% of charity projects have helped to reduce reoffending compared to 19% of private companies, reports the Guardian.The report...
- 29 Jul
It could become illegal to deny offenders legal aid
It could become illegal to deny prisoners in England and Wales legal aid so that they are able to effectively challenge the conditions they are held under, rules the court of appeal, reports the...
- 08 Jul
Offender’s rehabilitation is delayed by legal aid restrictions
The court of appeal has been told that thousands of prisoners are being prevented from starting rehabilitation due to them being denied legal aid for parole board hearings, reports the...
- 17 Mar
New supported accommodation for ex-offenders in Birmingham
Trident Reach the People Charity's new Reach House has been built to provide 24-hour supported accommodation for young offenders to help support them getting back into the community after their...
- 12 Mar
Staff working with young offenders criticised
A report by three inspection bodies has said that staff aimed at helping reduce re-offending in young offenders are "too often suspicious of each other" reports the BBC.The report, by the Care...
- 19 Sep
Family homes are needed to help offenders re-offending
A study by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Probation and Ofsted had found that almost one in five prisoners did not know where they would be living once they left jail, reports Inside...
- 16 Sep
Ex-offenders ‘lacking home and job'
An inspection into resettlement provision for adult prisoners had followed 80 offenders after they left prison. Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick said that it found the role of a prisoner's...
- 16 May
Offenders placed in prison for a day in a bid to cut re-offending
The Centre for Social Justice has urged the government to look to the US where this approach appears to work. The report has said that a third of people given community sentences re-offended within a...
- 30 Jan
Inspection finds offenders with learning disabilities are not being supported
The inspection looking into the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice systems was conducted by HM Inspectorate of Probation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary,...
Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 The Social and Financial return seminar was very helpful, helped me think about our approach to bidding, negotiating for funding and keeping hold of what we have! The New Technology seminar was really an eye opener- really got me thinking about potential applications for older people. P.M - Four Housing