Our new Inside Job Rep, Ali*, gives an insight into what it is like to be a peer Recruitment Consultant in HMP Hewell, helping fellow prisoners secure employment on release while they are still serving their sentences, and the challenges they face.
Hello, my name is Ali, I’m 24 years old and this is my first time in prison having served almost a year with 6 months to go. I genuinely like to help people and feel as though it’s our duty as fellow humans to help each other, especially in a place like this the little things mean a lot and seriously affect people’s lives.
Being an Inside Job Rep not only gives me an opportunity to change people’s lives but to experience it first hand and really bring some good to the world – it’s so rewarding! Furthermore, it gives all prisoners hope, a helping hand and motivation to be law-abiding citizens; changing for the better. Personally, I feel as though there’s nothing more effective to do in jail than help others to reform and prevent them from coming back.
When people get incarcerated they tend to lose their job, miss friends and family, lose out on income and their confidence degrades. It’s a slippery slope. Surrounded by criminals, it’s easy to be seduced into living a life of crime to get by and to earn respect. Statistics show that it’s harder to land a job once you have a criminal record and we’re often told this, even today. Inside Job stops people falling back into bad habits or associating with the wrong crowd and committing crimes again – by finding them work they want to do.
We proactively advertise candidates’ CVs and PDLs (Personal Disclosure Letters) to employers and arrange job interviews inside. This helps candidates stay focussed on the inside, preventing bad behaviour and giving people a reason to live their best life.
People inside think that as soon as they come into jail, their previous life is over because they’ve lost so much and getting it back seems impossible, It can be off-putting. So they commit crimes again in order to earn money through robbery, drugs or fraud. But we can help by letting these guys know that there is another option, their life isn’t over and it’s really only a new beginning with Inside Job.
To help people secure work for when they leave prison, hitting the ground running is best because it alleviates the risk of reoffending and really completes rehabilitation. Often people require housing immediately after release and some money to kickstart their new ventures. But most of all, what people need is belief. Belief that they can be successful. Belief that they can be happy despite daily hardships. Belief in the right mindset to be able to thrive in their new roles and new life.
In my experience, currently little support is given to individuals who leave prison in terms of their job, financial wellbeing and mental state to allow them to succeed after what is usually a relatively traumatic experience of incarceration.
Inside Job really does help with its proactive approach to employment and great supportive staff.
Thank you for reading.