The Government has announced it will fund two new projects designed to encourage enterprise and employment among offenders and ex-offenders.
The £1.8m funding is part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Small Business Service (SBS) to bridge the gap between prison life and a positive life on the outside.
The two projects are designed to give offenders and recently released ex-offenders the opportunity to support themselves by developing enterprise skills and setting themselves up in business.
Business in Prisons is a training project across 18 women's prisons and 17 male prisons, run by the Dukeries Training Agency. In Credit is a Stevenage-based initiative to establish a network for women recently released from prison and wanting to set up their own enterprises.
Small business minister, Nigel Griffiths, said recent research showed that being in employment reduced the risk of re-offending by between a third and a half.
"The costs of re-offending to society and to victims are enormous," he said. "For a significant number of offenders and ex-offenders, self-employment is the best way out of the cycle of re-offending."