Government launches inside information scheme for jailbirds

A
scheme to help prisoners secure jobs on release has been unveiled by the
Government.

Prisoners
will be able to submit applications through Jobpoints – an in-jail computer
network, which provides up-to-the minute information on vacancies available
throughout Europe.

The
aim of the scheme is to help prisoners prepare for a fresh start on the outside
by arranging job interviews to coicide with their release.

The
machines will initially be installed in four prisons – Lewes, Swansea,
Featherstone and Hollesley Bay.

Home
Secretary David Blunkett said: "I am pleased we have been able to pilot
Jobpoints in prisons. I was the minister responsible for introducing them into
Jobcentres and have seen the enormous impact they have had in helping people
into work.

"We
know that ex-offenders who are helped to find and hold on to a job are half as
likely to commit a further offence as those who become unemployed. This has to
be good news for all of us."

Blunkett
said the Jobpoints pilot would "give prisoners more chance of working
legitimately and contributing to the economy and, above all, get themselves out
of a life of social exclusion and crime".

Another
project is the pilot Worktrain website, which provides prisoners with access to
locked-down computers providing information about jobs, training places,
benefits, childcare and volunteering opportunities. The scheme is being piloted
at Moorland and Onley young offenders Institutions, and Askham Grange and
Durham prisons.

By Paul Nelson

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