A former convict who served two prison terms has set up a recruitment agency for prisoners, which aims to place them in employment and break down the cycle of crime.
ReConstruct Recruitment supports individuals who have current or former experience of the Criminal Justice Sector to find work and gain transferable skill sets. Through partnership with the prison service, ReConstruct assesses the risk of prisoners and points employees to suitable career paths. They supply a smooth transfer into work by offering a mentoring programme.
Jailed for violent behaviour, Ian Perkins, 43, decided to set up ReConstruct Recruitment after reaching rock bottom during his personal journey through the prison system.
Ian was given an eight-year sentence in 2004 for firearms offences, and was released after four years. He found himself in prison again after becoming involved in organised crime. He was finally released in 2014.
Ian knows first hand the stigma of serving time in prison. On his release, he found himself virtually unemployable, making endless job applications and being rejected for work as a litter-picker.
Having reached the lowest point of his life, he resolved to make a difference. Determined to make his second time in prison worthwhile, he signed up for courses, and became a mentor and a Samaritan.
Utilising contacts with local and national employers, ReConstruct aims to rehabilitate prisoners and get them back on the straight and narrow within the community. Ian makes contacts in the business community and gives speeches, encouraging firms to take on ex-offenders.
Rob Halliday-Stein is Ian’s business partner. The pair already operate Inside Out Ventures, which is based at a commercial laundry in HMP Hewell, Redditch. This project aims to give convicts the skills they need to live well outside prison. Offenders work with tools including cleaning chemicals, welding machines, printing presses and sewing machines. The firm now has contracts valued at £500,000.
By entering employment for Inside Out Ventures, prisoners can give back to society. Work experience compares to that available in the community, making prisoners fit for work on release. New skills include teamwork and CV building, which go hand in hand with growth in self-confidence.
Ian is determined to ‘put people back together’ and wants to act as a voice for prisoners seeking a better path. ReConstruct Recruitment therefore aims to bridge the gap between prison and a sustainable job in the community for offenders, giving them a brighter future and benefiting society.