Inside Job is a peer-led initiative that finds jobs for people while they are serving their sentences. We identify the best candidates by using talented, motivated and well respected prisoners – our “Internal Recruiters”.

Inside Job is an Upstart business. It was established in 2019.

The need for employment post prison

Lack of work:
Fewer than 20% of people find work when they leave prison.

Around 70,000 people are released each year, that’s 56,000 jobless people, who are all half as likely to reoffend if they have a job.

Inside Job stemmed from the idea of a then serving prisoner, Jonathan, on an UpStart programme in 2019.

Knowing talented people in prison who really wanted to work but didn’t believe anyone would employ them, Jonathan saw both need and opportunity. We realised Internal Recruiters, as peers, are best placed to identify candidates who genuinely want to contribute and work, because they have a well-developed “sniff-test”.

We realised that many people serving sentences do not trust official agencies to help them. BUT they trust their peers because they have shared experience and understand how important it is to talk straight and not let people down.

Support Inside and Outside:
We realised that support needs to come both from the inside and outside.

Our External Consultants find employers who want to have social impact and improve our society. They work closely with our Internal Recruiters and candidates, both inside prison and post-release.

How Inside Job works:

a focused, trusted, employment service for people serving sentences.

What Inside Job achieves:

for employers, candidates and prisons


Best case, a job: worst case, hope.

All candidates who work with Inside Job get a good CV, Disclosure Letter and interview practice with a professional recruiter. Some get interviews, job offers and work post release. All of our candidates develop a greater awareness of their employability and become more motivated to look for work. That gives them hope.


Better Resettlement Outcomes

Inside Job only works where it has intimate knowledge and good relationships with the prison already because it is running Choirs Beating Time in the establishment on a continuous basis. We are a small scale but highly effective employment intervention. We supplement, rather than duplicate, existing resettlement initiatives in the prisons we work in.


Loyal, resilient employees

Employers who give people a second chance know those individuals are often their most loyal and hardest working employees. Inside Job’s candidates have the same skills, experience and attitude employers want from the rest of their work force. We are not asking for special treatment or a lowering of standards. Our candidates will inject greater resilience and diversity into any team.

Inside Job gives employers an efficient, professional, no fee, recruitment process.


Inside Job identifies people who have proven themselves by contributing to their prison community. People who are determined to be of use. Our candidates are often “Listeners” (Samaritans in prison, a vital peer service), literacy mentors for Shannon Trust (where literate prisoners teach illiterate prisoners to read 1-2-1), they run the prison Gyms and Libraries, advocate on the Prison Council, are doing degrees or making music and art to improve the atmosphere for all who work, live and visit their prison. Some even win Awards!

This is Sally, our Midlands Manager, picking up Jonathan’s High Sheriff’s award for “Great and Good Services to the Community”, from Michael Kuo.


Reduce Crime, Rebuild Families and Save the Taxpayer Money

By recruiting with Inside Job you are helping to stop the vicious cycle of reoffending. Reoffending rates are nearly 50%, having a job halves that. If you employ an imprisoned parent, you will be sending a working parent back to a family. You’ll be creating a role model for some of the 320,000 children with a parent in prison in the UK and helping lift them out of poverty.

Our Employers

Success Stories

Click below to read some examples of Inside Job success stories.

How Inside Job reduces reoffending

We know what to do to stop the cycle of reoffending because the Ministry of Justice has done the research…

It has identified key factors which impact recidivism – addiction recovery (not part of our work) and 7 others. Three are obvious, external and tangible: housing, family and work. In other words, somewhere to live, someone to love and something to do…

Four are internal and intangible – but every bit as important: having hope and being motivated to change, knowing other people believe in you, being given the opportunity to contribute and having an identity not based on criminality. In other words, I know who I am, that I can, that you believe I can and that you’ll let me try…

Beating Time hits these four factors hard.

Choirs Beating Time enables prisoners to hang onto their mental health and be a recognisable version of themselves. All our programmes reinforce non-criminal identity, whether as singers, songwriters, performers, entrepreneurs, workers or parents. The people we work with know we believe in them, because we invest in them creatively, emotionally, and financially. We create the opportunity for them to contribute, on lots of levels: to their prison community as performers, to their families at our Family Days, to the workforce, through Inside Job and as Entrepreneurs, through UpStart. By retaining a sense of self and creating opportunities we generate hope and motivation.

Our Partners


Phil Martin, Founder of Ex-Seed is the author of the definitive book How To Get A Great Job When You Have A Criminal Record. It contains 99% of the Know How our Insiders will ever need.

Phil established and operated a dedicated careers department at HMP Springhill, whilst serving his own sentence, so he was uniquely placed to help us develop Inside Job in prison. He has subsequently set up Ex-Seed, an employment agency for people with convictions on the outside. Ex-seed is one of the Agencies Inside Job works with to identify the best work opportunities for our candidates.

A Fairer Chance:

Maggie Walsh (MBE), founder of A Fairer Chance, has placed over 1800 people with a criminal record into work. She has a long standing relationship with East Sutton Park (ESP) and on a voluntary basis has helped over 160 women from ESP into work.

Contact Us

If you would like to find out more about Inside Job send us a quick message using the form below or use any of contact details on the right to get in touch.

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    • 0778 388 0924
    • The Wiseman Room
      The Church at Carrs Lane
      Carrs Lane, Birmingham
      B4 7SX