Tuesday, 4 October 2011

What chance the Ex Offender

Lets make a few things clear - I did what I was accused of doing. I pleaded guilty and I have served the custodial element required by law. I may have another 9 months of Probation supervision left, but ultimately, I have done my time, and more...

So, whilst recognising that I am still serving the rehabilitative element of my sentence, surely the agencies I engage with should be looking to help me find work, or training, and not trying to prevent me from working?

So... lets see what my licence conditions say:

1) Must permanently reside at an address previously notified to and agreed by your supervising officer and Must not reside, even for one night, at any other address without the prior consent of your supervising officer.

2) Must not engage in any work paid or unpaid, including voluntary work, without the prior consent of your supervising officer.

3) Must not access any online forum, board or community without the prior consent of your supervising officer.

So, according to item 1 I can't work nights, or do Long-Haul deliveries.

According to 2 I can't start a job unless my OM approves it, and according to 3 I can't even look for work online at all.

I have to assume that the Powers that Be don't actually want me working, and I have pointed this out to both Probation and the Job Centre. And nothing is going on.

Oh, that's not true - Ive been forced onto the new "Work programme" so I went for an appointment with the local provider. And took along my disclosure document.

From the start my appointment was going to be unsatisfactory - despite the provider being made aware of my issues with the staff member who did initial interviews, she started the process with me before passing me to a colleague.

This colleague seemed polite, and helpful, but was uncertain of what she was doing; "it's my first day doing this job".

Initially she scan-read my documents, but then started to ask me the same questions again. When my Criminal Record was broached, she read my disclosure document, and her face changed from "how can we help this guy" to "let's get rid of this pervert now, he should never have been let out of prison"

The remainder of the interview from that point seemed to be as much about justifying refusing to take me on the programme as to try to help me, and certainly the proposed action plan does nothing to assist me. Indeed when I explained the training I am seeking, I was told, flatly, that this would not be available unless I had a job offer - it must be clear that in this recession, this is not how things work, and indeed this is contrary to the intentions and aims of the "client-needs focussed" Work Programme.

So, if I'm not being supported by the people being paid to support ex-offenders (for such is what I am) and I'm not being supported by the government programmes for unemployed people, what hope is there of me finding a job.

I may as well start stealing from shops - I won't go to prison for it (for the first 150 times I get caught anyway) and I might end up better off.

And even if I do end up in court and in prison, at least I don't have to worry about money when I'm in there and I can declare a different offence on release.

Strangely, Probation don't want to talk to me about this...