Are you keen to recruit people with a criminal record and looking for help in finding applicants?

If the answer’s yes, this page should help, but make sure you’ve done two things first:

  1. Before you start encouraging applications, make sure you’ve developed a policy towards applicants with a criminal record.
  2. Each time you recruit, make sure you look at your approach to criminal records and make sure you’re doing everything right; we have a handy checklist.

Once you’ve done the two things above, you might then want some help recruiting individuals.

Often companies contact us looking for help in advertising their vacancies for specific parts of the country or in specific industries or professions.

So that’s why we’ve put this page together. It has details of useful organisations that you might find helpful when trying to reach people with convictions. It has details of national, regional and local services that employers can tap into to help them recruit people with convictions.

Sources of help

People who are unemployed / Jobcentre Plus

Between a quarter and a third of people claiming job seekers allowance have had a criminal record in the last 10 years. Claiming job seekers allowance is a cost to society, and job centres try to reduce this by moving people off benefits into employments. Local job centres have a range of initiatives (including working with specialist organisations locally) to help increase employment opportunities.

Jobcentre Plus offer help to recruiters. Try reaching out to your local job centre – they might even have a ‘lead for offenders’ (often covering a particular region) that can help.

People on probation / CRCs & NPS

There’s around 250,000 people on probation, either serving their sentence in the community or finishing off a prison sentence on licence. Probation services are split into two groups – high-risk individuals are managed by the National Probation Service, and medium-to-low risk individuals are managed by regional Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). Their aim is to reduce the risk of re-offending, and the chances of re-offending are significantly reduced when people find stable, meaningful employment.

There’s a list of the CRC’s below, with links to their website, and there’s a handy map here.

Although the details may have changed since, in April 2016 Clinks published “owner contact information” for CRC’s

People leaving prison / Prisons

Most people are not that far from their nearest prison. Depending on the type of prison it is, you might find that recruiting people from prison is a great way of finding dedicated future employeers.

There’s a useful prison finder tool that you can use to find a prison close to you.

Depending on how the prison is run, they might have their own prison industries department that you could build links with, or they may have specific projects or training courses in place. Some prisons let people go out of the prison during the day for work and volunteering opportunities (known as ‘release on temporary licence’).

Advertising national niche vacancies

If you’ve got an opportunity that might be of interest to people across England & Wales, Unlock might be able to help in advertising the vacancy to people with convictions who are signed up receive emails from the charity. Although there’s normally a cost for advertising, this can usually be waived where there is a specific job opportunity especially targeted at people with convictions.

Other useful organisations

There’s also a list of useful organisations whose work we support and who might be helpful


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