Blue sky thinking

Criminal recidivism is an expensive problem, but steady employment can drastically lower the chance that former prisoners will re-offend. Sam Finney learns how the organisation Blue Sky and the waste sector can help

This article was taken from Issue 75

It’s extremely difficult for ex-offenders to find work, regardless of aptitude or experience; a criminal record marginalises an individual and can mean automatic exclusion from employment. This was the gist of a conversation between Mick May (former financial services executive) and Steve Finn (former prisoner) that led to the foundation of Blue Sky Development in 2005. 

They have a point. According to the Social Exclusion Unit, over 75 per cent of the 90,000 prisoners who re-enter society each year are unemployed upon release. It is eight times harder for an ex-offender to find work than for someone with no criminal record, and up to 20 per cent of the UK working age population have one. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, 60 per cent reoffend within two years of release.