In the United Kingdom, more prisoners are being allowed to take outside jobs while serving their sentence.
Both England and Wales have adopted new policies concerning the release of prisoners to work in the community, BBC News reports.
This change in current policy comes as the government seeks ways to reduce re-offending, which comes as a high cost to society.
“Step in the right direction”
The new direction and shift in policy comes six years after the previous rules had been tightened. This was due to the case of Ian McLaughlin, who while on a temporary work release in 2013, stabbed and killed a man.
In 2018, 7,700 inmates were able to participate in these work release programs, allowing them to spend working hours outside of prison in the community. Some were even allowed overnight stays according BBC news.
Now, with new less restrictive policies being implemented, the number of inmates who are allowed to work outside of prison is expected to increase by several hundred.
A new application makes the process more efficient, according to officials. An inmate may take and pass a rigorous “Risk Assessment” test right away rather than having to wait until he or she is within 12 months of release.
Justice Secretary David Gauke told BBC News, “The evidence and common sense suggest that prison- ers who go into work after they leave prison are less likely to re-offend. If we just dump them out of prison having not done anything to get them ready for work, then I’m afraid the risk of re-offending is that much greater.”
Organizations and others in the community have come to realize the value of employing prisoners and are being encouraged to join the 300 who have already signed on to participate.
The Prison Reform Trust welcomed the new policy, calling it a “step in the right direction,” but added, “There is much farther to go.”