Ex-offender: Raab 'absolutely right' on using prisoners to plug labour shortages

21 October 2021, 17:21

By Tim Dodd

Shelagh Fogarty spoke to this ex-prisoner who was allowed to work as a truck driver in his final year of a 31 year sentence, meaning he could "get accommodation, buy a car, and settle into society".

It comes as Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told LBC prisoners are set to be asked to fill up worker shortages like HGV driver vacancies as the Government hopes to plug skills gaps in the economy.

John in Warrington told Shelagh: "For any employers that are listening in, they need to understand something. If you employ a guy who's in prison, I'm not joking you, they'll be really good with you because they won't do anything wrong because they'd rather be out than in prison.

"When I came out I had enough money in the bank to get accommodation, to buy a car, and to settle into society.

"Because Shelagh, a lot of people don't understand, prisoners are getting out of prison, a lot of them, with no accomodation."

Read more: 'Hopeless': Minister says just 20 out of 300 foreign HGV driver visas have been processed

John continued: "Basically, I got out with £48.80, a grant, and I couldn't have anything else for ten days.

"Do you know? You're set up to fail. What Dominic Raab's saying is absolutely right. Give someone a chance, we all deserve a second chance."

Shelagh asked how his work was arranged in his final year in prison.

Read more: Supply chain crisis: Thousands more HGV drivers to be trained - but not before Christmas

"I went to my personal officer in prison and said look I've just been on to this company here," John said.

"He said he'll have a go at me at 31 years [in prison]. They sent an officer out to see him and took me with them, and he said yeah no problem I'm quite happy for you to work."

Read more: Supply chain crisis: No 'visible' improvements in HGV driver shortage - RHA

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