Building Opportunities, Skills and Success for ex-offenders
Preventing homelessness through BOSS
The BOSS project aims to re-integrate ex-offenders into their communities by giving them the skills, qualifications, confidence and support they need to gain employment or set up their own business. The issues of homelessness and criminal behaviour are linked as a criminal record and time spent in prison can cause people to lose their job and their home.
Many people face barriers returning to employment when they leave prison. Most employers ask about a criminal record before they have even met a candidate and often negatively discriminate on this basis, making it difficult for those who are looking to move away from criminal behaviour to build a new life. Time spent away from the workplace and repeated rejection from employers can cause a loss of confidence that prevents ex-offenders from returning to work.
Having no job – and no income – can lead to further instances of homelessness or to further offending behaviour. Many offenders lacked the education or qualifications required for some jobs before they went to prison. This downward spiral of unemployment and criminal behaviour is something many people recognise but currently, little support exists to challenge it. The impact on individuals, families, communities and society can be huge and this is something the BOSS project seeks to address.
How does BOSS help ex-offenders get back into work?
BOSS provides employability and entrepreneurship training to ex-offenders and prisoners serving sentences in South Wales at Cardiff, Swansea, Parc Bridgend, Usk and Prescoed prisons. As well as training, participants are invited to take part in industry visits, regular work/volunteer placements, mock interviews and gaining industry-standard qualifications.
Pre-release training is provided through to prepare prison leavers for their transition back into communities. Post-release work and ongoing support will help participants to stay away from crime, avoid poverty and reduce the risk of homelessness. Ultimately, participants are supported to take charge of their own lives once again.
The BOSS team also works with businesses and community groups to promote the benefits of employing ex-offenders and to tackle the negative stigma attached to an offending history.
Wider benefits of BOSS and ex-offenders returning to work
BOSS will help reduce the strain on communities and community services by helping individuals regain control of often-chaotic lives and moving people away from a reliance on benefits.
Whilst an offending background is considered an undesirable characteristic in a potential employee, the benefits to society of helping people to break out of the cycle of re-offending are huge:
– Levels of re-offending are reduced
– The impact of criminal behaviour upon communities is reduced so people and communities feel safer
– Strain on other community services is reduced
– People are economically active – reducing their reliance on state benefits
– Pressure on families is reduced and relationships are improved
Be a BOSS Employer
Could you provide an opportunity to an ex-offender?
Read our BOSS Employer Guide about how businesses can partner with us.
Contact our Corporate Liaison Coordinator via firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved or find out more about creating employment opportunities for those with a criminal record.
BOSS is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s People & Places programme.
For more information about the project, or to refer yourself or someone else for support, please contact us:
3 Pendyris Street
Tel. 029 2167 4381