She kept him in touch with progress, met him to tell him about how things were going on several occasions and even in the very early stages he told Prison Governors that we were a very good thing! The First Prize was awarded to Barbara Tudor for her tremendous work for the Probation Service in the Midlands. The lecture, given by the Rt. Rev. John Sentamu, Bishop of Birmingham, focused on the need for reconciliation, restoration and forgiveness if human beings are to be helped to change their behaviour, rather than punishment, retribution and revenge, which clearly do not work.
The evening was generously sponsored by The Independent and the full text of his inspirational speech is on their website and also on that of the Prison Reform Trust. Representatives from the retail sector, engineering companies, haulage firms and NHS Trusts toured the prison to meet prisoners at work, and heard testimonies from employers and former inmates. Web Copywriting Gil Bolton, Head of Regimes and Resettlement at the prison, spoke of his desired outcomes from the event, the first of its kind at the prison.
He did not want special treatment for ex-offenders rather he hoped that applications would be considered carefully, especially given the fact that one third of men under 40 have a criminal record. He was clear that in an area of the country where there is significant unemployment, it is important for the prison to forge links with local employers in order to discover areas where they have problems recruiting staff.
Many offenders want to break the cycle, he told employers they just need someone like you to give them a second chance. And as having a job cuts re-offending rates by around 40%, it is in the interests of the whole community to help get people back to work after leaving prison. Liz Boddy, Director of John Boddy Timber in Boroughbridge, had experienced difficulty in finding people to fill her vacancies. These people are highly committed they really want the job. She said there had been some reticence before the first ex-offender arrived, but as soon as they met him they completely accepted him.