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Employment after Prison: Is It Very Hard To Build A Career For A Former Inmate?

Employers refuse to hire for several reasons. The first lacked confidence in the interview. Others are looking for employees with more experience and skills. The most painful rejection is having a criminal record.

Only 17% of ex-offenders manage to find a job within a year of release. We have prepared a small list of companies that offer jobs for ex-offenders in the UK. These companies are prestigious and well-known. Perhaps in 5-10 years you will rise from the initial branch of employees and become a manager. And a criminal record won’t stop that from happening.

Boots the Chemist

Prior to 2013, employers in the U.K. put a separate line on forms about a criminal record. That is, if a person came for an interview and had committed a crime before, he would be refused a job.

The pharmaceutical company Boots was one of the first who took into account the charity action «Ban the Box» according to which an employer refused to put a column about criminal records at hiring.

Boots has also partnered with HMP Sudbury, and, along with agency partners Gi Group and AM2PM, regularly visits the prison to tell inmates about job opportunities at Boots’ warehouse. And once leaving prison, to hire faster than the competition.

The company doesn’t look at a person’s background. Many interviews have come out about Boots with company employees who have criminal records. Many of them hold managerial positions.

Virgin group

Giving a second chance to convicts in the UK is a personal initiative of Richard Branson. If you don’t know who it is, there are plenty of free writing samples on this topic on the web. In 2011, he said: «Employers need to be aware of the positives of convicted people. Experience shows that properly selected candidates will prove just as reliable as recruits from other places. The main thing is to discern a personality in them.» The essays on Adnan Syed’s innocence display a shining example of a promising personality that few have noticed. You can get a better future faster with your new job because Richard Branson himself believes in you!

Virgin Train has already hired more than 60,000 employees who were previously incarcerated. Management is confident (and proven in practice) that the new job reduces the risk of re-offending.

Candidates are selected according to standard procedures: aptitude, skills, education, and creativity. And the trial course lasts an average of 18 months.


James Timpson, manager of the Timpson shoe factory argues that people with a prison record are eligible for the job. «To not hire such an employee is to lose a damn good employee.»

Since 2008, Timpson management has been giving prisoner rehabilitation jobs. The first shoe shop hired 1,500 people with prison records. Only four returned to prison. Many of those who have given up criminal activity have taken management positions in the company, including a current board member.

As of 2022, 10% of the entire Timpson staff had a prior criminal record. No one will be turned down for a job here just because of a criminal record. Everyone has equal rights and opportunities to build a career and earn a prestigious salary.

Timpson even founded an academy for former prisoners, where they can be students, learn new things like in a college, and become part of the team at a shoe company or other enterprise — Max Photos.

Compass Group

Compass Group plc is a British multinational catering company, No. 1 in the world in terms of production and staffing. The companies employ over 500,000 people.

Compass Group has been working with inmates at Drake Hall Women’s Prison, Staffordshire, since 2004. There are many examples on the web of convicted women being given opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills at the company for minimal pay. And if they liked the work and were good at it, they were hired full time.

Still, it’s not easy to get a job with a company. When hiring, be prepared that the recruiter will check your past 7-10 years for offenses and their severity. You have to try and demonstrate all the skills and knowledge you can to be part of Compass.

Henley Homes Group

The Henley Housing and Construction Company, headquartered in Australia, is one promising option for post-release work. The projects need a new workforce. The Home Building Federation estimates there is a shortage of 49,000 workers in the real estate construction industry. Henley Homes are willing to hire anyone who wants it, including ex-convicts.

Tariq Usmani, head of the corporation, said in an interview about jobs for convicts: «For those who have a desire for progress, there’s a lot we can do to create a path for development. These are some of the best people we’ve hired. They understand the value of time because they know how they have wasted it in the past.»

If you’re not afraid of physical work and are willing to put in the time for your career, try your luck at Henley Homes.


Owners of large companies believe that employment for ex-offenders will help avoid a second conviction. Unfortunately, middle and small managers often don’t realize this, denying jobs.

The door is always open to any company for convicts. Building a career from scratch is much more realistic than you realize. You have to look for it and not get discouraged.

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