-Online recruitment specialist, Recruitment Genius discusses the effects this has on the labour market –

Earlier this month Justice Secretary Ken Clarke unveiled plans for prisoners to work 40-hour weeks. The proposal, a revival of a policy of John Major’s last Conservative government, requires private companies to be drafted in to introduce 9-5 working days.

However, if the proposal is to deliver genuine income, part of which will be provided to victims of crime, then the average earning of a prisoner, currently £8 a week, needs to be reviewed.

As, in order for the proposal to be truly effective then prisoners need to be offered ‘proper work’ with a ‘proper wage’. Whilst few would challenge the concept of motivating prisoners to do more with their day; what effect does this have an on already struggling job market?

If the jobs are going to command ‘proper’ wages shouldn’t those jobs firstly be offered to non-offenders who are actively seeking employment? If the role exists and the budget is available then why should this scheme be favoured?

The reality is that, according to the Office of National Statistics, a record 1.14million employees and self-employed people were working part time because they could not find a full-time job; up 65,000 on the quarter. Youth unemployment has also increased; up 5 per cent in the three months to August 2010. Long-term unemployment has hit a 13-year high as the number of people out of work for more than a year has grown to 811,000 over the quarter. Up 34.7 per cent year on year and, specifically, the number of young people out of work for more than 12 months rose by 28.6 per cent over the year to reach 208,000.

With such startling statistics one would question if there appears to be more pressing matters at hand.


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