‘Employment minister Priti Patel has told companies to employ ex-offenders to help the Government achieve its radical programme of rehabilitating prisoners.
She said it was vital that ex-convicts were able to 'leave their past behind bars' and told employers that they had a responsibility to create a 'better society'.
And she claimed that employing ex-prisoners would boost companies financially, pointing to evidence that nearly half of companies in the UK that hire people from disadvantaged groups had benefited from new markets and new contracts secured by ex-offenders, recovering drug addicts and ex-homeless people.
Her 'See Potential' initiative, which is backed by music mogul Simon Cowell and business magnate Sir Richard Branson, builds on David Cameron's wide-ranging prison reforms agenda, which he announced earlier this month.
He unveiled plans for prisoners to no longer force ex-convicts from declaring their criminal convictions on job applications as he condemned the scandalous failure' of the justice system to rehabilitate criminals.
Another radical scheme he announced was a plan to allow inmates out of jail during the week to help them re-integrate with society and to find work when they are released.
Ms Patel wants more firms to take part in the Department for Work and Pensions' 'See Potential scheme, which targets ex-offenders, recovering drug or alcohol addicts and homeless people.
Telling more firms to think about employing ex-convicts, she told industry leaders last night: 'Businesses should give ex-offenders the chance to leave their past behind bars and look to their futures.
'We all need to look beyond a person's background and allow true talent and potential to prosper.
'A person's past should never be a barrier to work. It's the challenges – and someone's experience of overcoming them – that makes them such a valuable asset in the workplace.’ – Mail Online