From Prison to Work

Year of Publication: 

Only 6% of people leaving prison receive support to find competitive work. Funded by J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, The Henry Smith Charity, and Garfield Weston Foundation, this project worked with prison leavers from eight West Midland prisons.

This project trialled Individual Placement and Support (IPS) with a population it had not been tested on before: people with mental health problems leaving prison.

The Centre for Mental Health and partners conducted a feasibility study of IPS across eight prisons. In total, 23 of the 61 people who engaged both during and after their time in prison were supported into employment. This was in the face of some major challenges, including the biggest upheaval in probation services for many decades, Transforming Rehabilitation.

The project observed a concerning lack of mental health support for a group with such complex needs. In addition, the project often operated in a vacuum of other support, meaning that before intensive employment support could be provided, the project was required to focus on more immediate needs such as housing and benefits.

From Prison to Work finds that the IPS approach can be adapted successfully to support prisoners to get work when they are released. It calls on the Government to invest in a larger scale trial of IPS for former prisoners and to reform existing employment services in the criminal justice system.