The Context in which we work
The prison population has more than doubled in the last 3 decades and is set to increase by 20,000 by the mid 2030s. Before being taken into custody, prisoners are nearly 9 times more likely to be unemployed compared to the general population, 47% of prisoners report having no qualifications at all, and 13% report having never had a job. Many of the prison leavers we work with have lived in areas suffering long-term generational unemployment. Lacking positive role models and often having to wait 6 weeks until their universal credit begins, it is little wonder that Ministry of Justice statistics reveal a cycle of reoffending. Of those released from custody or court orders July-September 2019, 26.4% reoffended within just one year.
We aim to break the cycle of reoffending by:
- Providing support and mentoring leading to employment
- Sourcing training and the opportunity to gain qualifications
- Re-building confidence
- Facilitating work experience
- Encouraging social inclusion
- Becoming a contributor to society rather than a dependent
For the past seven years, the Oswin Project has supported ex-offenders in the Northeast of England, giving them a second chance by sourcing paid employment, volunteering opportunities, training and work experience.
We work closely with HM prisons, employers, and partners to maximise everyone’s potential. Most of our clients (known as Oswinners) reintegrate into communities around the Northeast. We do not follow a prescribed pathway but adopt a flexible approach in the use of activities and educational programmes to tailor our plans to the circumstances and needs of the individual. We facilitate employment and training, not as a short-term fix, but as a vehicle to independence and personal growth.
We offer support for employers who have previously not worked with ex-offenders. Our database of those willing to employ ex-offenders is steadily growing. Alongside a network of partner organisations, we work closely with HMP Northumberland and their resettlement team, Job Centre plus, Novus (who supply education in HMP Northumberland and other prisons) and the New Futures network to develop new opportunities.
We work with ‘Oswinners’ prior and post-release helping them to turn away from crime. In doing so we place a wedge in the revolving door of re-offending. Mentoring is offered and goals are discussed and set, plans made, and encouragement given. A route into employment is found, lives are rebuilt and transformed.