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Employing prisoners and prison leavers

Work with New Futures Network and provide job opportunities to serving prisoners and prison leavers aged 18 and over. 

New Futures Network is a specialist employment team in His Majesty's Prison and Probation Service.

Partnerships with prisons 

Prison industries  

Prison industries and academies are commercial workspaces in prisons, set up by businesses and staffed by serving prisoners. 

Release on a temporary licence 

You can offer paid work placements in the community to risk-assessed serving prisoners.  

This can be full-time or part-time and includes apprenticeships for serving prisoners. 

Employment on release 

You can offer employment to individuals following their release from prison. You could offer work to a prisoner who staffed a prison workshop, worked in the business via release on temporary licence or by directly hiring a recruit. 

Benefits for your business

By working with New Futures Network, you can fill vacancies and address skill shortages. 

By helping serving prisoners and prison leavers to realise their potential, you can have a positive social impact. You can support them to transform their future, as well their families lives and wider communities. 

You will have access to a motivated and diverse talent pool. This includes individuals that have a range of life experiences and skills, including English, Maths, ICT and industry-level qualifications. 

On average, prison leavers tend to stay with employers for longer than other employees which can reduce your recruitment costs and staff turnover. 

Case studies

Find out how other businesses are employing prisoners and prison leavers:

Wagamama hospitality masterclass in a prison

This video is 2 minutes and 20 seconds long

Video Transcript

Stephen Mangleshot: So the purpose of todays session was to teach the guys what it's about to work in a professional kitchen, cook Wagamama food, and give them a real introduction to the hospitality industry. My name is Stephen Mangleshot, I'm a global executive chef and brand ambassador for Wagamama. I think everyone deserves a second chance. I don’t think just because you've been here, if you're going to be released, why not give them the opportunity to work and give them a career that they can come out and actually it’s something to look forward to. Hospitality is a diverse industry. Wagamama, we want to take away the fear of people who, say they've done something wrong, they can go and do something right. As soon as you've got that chef jacket on no one judges them, no one says who you are, what are you doing. They're taken as a chef and hopefullythey will have learned a new career, learn a new skill.

Lauren Robbin, Early Careers and Disadvantaged Groups Partner at Wagamama: At the masterclasses you see the impact in the moment. You see a bit of fire back in their bellies. You see the light back in their eyes and they realise that actually hospitality is somewhere for them. Ultimately, it was a room full of passion and a room full of individuals that were extremely engaged and did an amazing job.

Stephen Laud, Head of Reducing Reoffending at HMP Hatfield: Here at Hatfield, we're incredibly successful at getting former prisoners and offenders into employment on release. What we’ve found is that our prisoners work incredibly hard. They take very few sick days and actually they’re an untapped resources for businesses. It’s a win for everybody, win for the businesses because they're getting a real loyal cohort of people, win for the individuals because when they've got a job, they can be fantastic with their families, they can share it. And it's a win for the prison service ultimately because we're doing what we should be doing, which is delivering rehabilitation.

Lauren Robbin: We were founded on the idea of being a place of no judgment, a safe sanctuary. So if we’re not doing it, who else is? We've run some fantastic master classes across the UK in different prisons both female and male, which is amazing.

Stephen Mangleshot: A business who's thinking about doing this should come and try it. Come into one of the prisons, come do a cooking session like we've done, show them some of the food that they're going to cook in your business or industry. Then let them decide. Let them want to come to you, because we can't force people to come and work for us but we can show them what a really cool industry hospitality is and why it's a great industry to work in.

Stacey's story

This video is 2 minutes and 15 seconds long

Video Transcript

Stacey, Timpson Mobile Manager: Basically I had it in my head that I was going to walk in and everyone was going to know that I’d just come out of prison and no one would even want to stand by me. It'd be labelled with a big red X. "Ooh, Stacey the ex-con, and stuff like that. But it was nothing like that, it was, "Welcome to the team, if you need anything, here’s my number." It was the the best start anyone could have in a job.

Darren Burns, National Recruitment Ambassador at Timpson: So, Stace, tell me about the moment you found out you had a job with Timpson.

Stacey: I’d literally just had my interview with my current area manager, Darren Brown, and at the end of the interview all he said to me was, "Can you start on Monday?" And it was just a very bizarre moment because nothing had been going right for me at that time in my life. So it was, it was amazing.

Darren: You must have been really pleased.

Stacey: Out of this world.

Darren: Great, and how long ago was that, how long have you been with Timpson now?

Stacey: Nearly seven years now.

Darren: How did your family and friends react when they found out you had a job with Timpson?

Stacey: My mum was ecstatic because she'd been so worried about me going to prison, and then when I told her I’d actually got a start at Timpson, which could lead to better things, she was over the moon. My friends were so happy for me because it was something which was good for me.

Darren: So how has Timpson supported you through your employment journey?

Stacey: They've started right from the beginning, by supporting me, by giving me that first chance at a fresh start in my life, by giving me the job. They've supported me through all nearly seven years that I’ve been with the company. They've given me support when I felt like I’m not good enough. And also, by working for Timpson, I’ve now found my other half, and we’re due to get married next year, and I believe that's all down to Timpson.

Darren: Stacey, other businesses might think that hiring an ex-offender is a bit risky, but what makes that a good decision in your opinion?

Stacey: Sometimes you need to break the cycle, and believe in these people, because if they're just left, they will reoffend. But if we give them a chance, you can give them a fresh start. See, you’re basically teaching them on how to grow again. By you guys giving me a chance, I’ve come out of myself and I’ve found myself again, but I could have been just left in the system, and never got that chance, and now I’ve got it, my life’s good again.

Darren: Well, we’re happy we found you and we're very happy that you work for us.


You do not have to pay to work with New Futures Network.  

If you offer employment, you must pay the national minimum wage. You can choose to pay above the national minimum wage. 

You may have your own business costs, such as time spent training and supervising new staff. There may also be costs associated with prison workshops and academies, and New Futures Network can advise on this. 

Your responsibilities

If you actively recruit people from prison, New Futures Network expects you to: 

  • consider developing HR policies for hiring people with criminal records so that information is available to your staff and hiring managers  
  • understand if a criminal record disclosure is needed, and be open with prospective candidates about when and how you intend to ask for it 
  • tailor your job descriptions, application forms, and interviews 
  • consider how to onboard and develop individuals who may require additional support or flexibility  

New Futures Network can help with this, providing templates and practical steps to consider when seeking disclosure at different stages of recruitment.

Find out more

Find out more about working with New Futures Network or register your interest on New Futures Network website.

More resources

Interim Tile - Read guidance on employing prisoners and ex-offenders

Learn more about the benefits of employing prisoners and ex-offenders.

Interim Tile - Follow New Futures Network on Linkedin

Get regular updates on New Futures Network.

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