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28 July 2008 PR 08/115

Report sheds new light on challenges faced by ex-prisoners

A study by Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) has offered up a fresh insight into ex-prisoners’ experiences of employment and the difficulties they face when trying to re-settle into the community.

The report, High hopes: Supporting ex-prisoners in their lives after prison, was undertaken for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It will help to inform the provision of support to ex-prisoners, with a view to improving their employment outcomes and helping to reduce re-offending.

For the study the Loughborough research team – comprising Yvette Hartfree, Chris Dearden and Elspeth Pound – charted the journey of 40 male ex-prisoners over a six month period following their release from prison. They conducted a three-stage interview process, beginning just prior to the prisoners’ release, with follow-up interviews conducted three and then six months after their release. The researchers also talked to service providers, including employment and benefit advisers and housing/homeless agencies.

“The report aims to provide the DWP and other relevant agencies with a better understanding of the expectations of, and the barriers faced by, ex-prisoners in the first few months after they are released from prison,” explains Yvette Hartfree.

“It looks at how they managed the financial transition from prison back into the community and their interactions with service providers. It also explores their experiences of housing and substance misuse on release which, although not intended to be a main focus of the research, were key issues raised by ex-prisoners.”

The study revealed that:

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  1. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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