The challenge

Reoffending is a blight on the UK. Damaging, disruptive and enormously costly, it wastes potential, fractures families and communities, and costs the UK billions of pounds every year. And, to a large extent, it’s preventable.

In the UK today, 44% of adult prisoners are reconvicted within a year of their release and this statistic rises to 59% for those serving sentences of less than 12 months. This reoffending rate cost the UK taxpayer £15 billion in 2015 – the cost of detecting, sentencing and imprisoning people who have already been through the system.

The crimes committed by reoffenders profoundly impact the lives of their victims, in terms of their physical and mental wellbeing, and financial cost. They also damage the families of prisoners leading to social and financial pressures, and to disproportionately high levels of offending among prisoners’ and ex-prisoners’ children.

Unlocked aims to change this. Prison officers, as the individuals with the most contact with prisoners, can be key influencers. Prisoners have told us that prison officers’ interventions and support, if properly targeted, can help prisoners to turn their lives around. Unlocked wants innovative leaders to join the prison service to apply fresh thinking and new ideas that help prisoners to make better, more positive choices.