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Qualitative study of offender employment review: final report

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) commissioned the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) to undertake a qualitative study of offender employment services, with a specific focus on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the joint DWP/Ministry of Justice (MOJ) offender employment review. The key objectives of the study were to:

• identify how well the recommendations of the review have been implemented;
• identify the extent to which the changes implemented have contributed to improved offender employment services;
• establish what further reforms should be developed to maximise the employment outcomes for offenders;
• assist in developing future policy for the offender group;
• consider the role of drug treatment services in the offender employment journey.

In recent years around 250,000 people in England and Wales have entered the criminal justice system annually to serve a custodial sentence or undertake a period of Probation Service supervision. Many have not ever had employment and need support to help them into work. The level of support required by offenders varies widely with some individuals relatively close to the labour market but many others experience severe and multiple barriers to employment. These may include physical and mental health problems, literacy and numeracy difficulties, problems with drugs or alcohol, and poor vocational skills or employment experience