The Justice Secretary David Gauke announced on Thursday (25th May 2018), the Government would introduce a new strategy to deal with reoffending and the rehabilitation of offenders. The strategy unveiled, is to get people that have offended back into employment through vocational training, inside and out of prison. Working with companies offering training that will give vocational skills to offer in the workplace.

Employment has long been recognised to deliver positive outcomes in terms of rehabilitation and a pathway back into community and society. Paid work, remuneration for one’s application is important to highlight. Much of the discussion in terms of people who have offended in the past in terms of offender charities and academic discussion has been about volunteering, unpaid work.

That discussion dismisses the personal capital individual’s offer. It applies people who need an earning capital into a sub section of workers; part of a labour force in an ever growing rich and wealthy third sector. Excluded from pay and equity. Most if not all people whom have offended in the past offer the workplace a capital that should be paid for. Sadly, third sector charities and organisations subscribe most to a slave class, not yet worthy of pay.

Being paid, for one’s labour is fundamental in appreciating and enjoying work in terms of that important reason for why we go to work – pay day. The day when you’re paid for your labour and you pay most of your bills, buy food, hopefully still have enough to buy some clothes or treat the kids, or just enjoy a well-earned bottle of wine on a Friday night.

After a long hiatus from writing and discussing the rehabilitation of people who have offended. Thursday saw a return to the discussion. Invited by BBC 5live, BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio WM 95.6 to discuss what one thinks about the new government strategy. It signals a return to the discussion I’m passionate about.

From a personal perspective, the hiatus was caused due to a difficult exposure to the charitable, practice and policy, including the academic discussion surrounding crime and rehabilitation. After a period of self-inflicted exclusion and assessment. I found a way out of the depressive, self-labelling and victimisation being involved in activism and campaigning inflicted upon me. I found paid work.

My life changed, I stopped being a victim of academic and charity labelling, I stopped being worthless in terms of capital, and the capital of the narrative that was once valuable to academia and charities, became my narrative again. I oversaw the return of the narrative that was stolen. And a new narrative begun.

The world of work and being paid for your efforts has brought me great dividends. I now have savings, I invest, and much more important than monetary capital, I have a self-worth, confidence and belief in who I am, and what I can be, and become.

I invested in education back in 2004-2009, A Social Policy and Sociology degree, in terms of student loans, and other costs, it cost me around £20,000. I earned between 2009 and 2013 when I stopped campaigning, about a grand, give or take a hundred quid! Since investing in some vocational training which cost me since 2013 to 2015 about £2,000, I’ve earned well over £100, 000.

People that are on the road to rehabilitation, and seeking a career or just work to pay the bills need to be very aware of a passive, yet destructive prejudice on the part of charities, education and the criminal justice system. These organisations are guilty of a prejudice that is applied in terms of you being a victim, incapable of choices and change. The pathways offered, usually don’t apply well in the real world, a bit like a sociology/criminology degree. Vocational training offers a real pathway to work, pay and self-esteem.

What does a vocational world of work offer a person rehabilitating from crime … freedom and change.

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