Shock, horror, a somewhat positive experience.


Shock, horror, a somewhat positive experience.

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BenS - 29 Mar 18 8:34 AM
As for experience at the Job Centre, I found the task workers themselves to be friendly and sympathetic. They know RSOs are unemployable but they do their best and try to make you feel human. I now work for myself and my job is online (writing-related).

As for the secretarial/reception staff who deal with scheduling meetings, it's the total opposite. They literally think they own you, and that going for a 5-minute weekly appointment to sign on is more important that anything else in your life. Chemotherapy session? Move it. Important hospital procedure where you would have to wait another 6 months if you can't make it? Go to the next slot in 6 months then. Father's funeral? Screwed up face, acting as if you've made an absolutely unacceptable request, then "OK, as an exception, I'll let you change your appointment. But this can't become the norm." Then as you're walking out the door, they say, at a normal volume clearly audible to others, "Make sure you bring a death certificate next time as proof of death" - saying the last word "death" while doing the "quotation marks" gesture with their hands, as if you're lying to them. So those people on the scheduling end are pure and utter scum, an inferior species. This has happened to me. How I would have loved to go public and complain to the press or whatever, but being an RSO, that fact about me would have come out.

As for the general attitude/extreme caution regarding RSOs who have committed non-contact offences, it's clearly frustrating. You can embezzle millions of pounds, beat someone to within an inch of their life, kill a family through dangerous driving, and you can get onto job schemes/interviews and explain the situation with remorse and get the job. But if you have viewed one image on a computer screen, you are less trustworthy than any of the above.

I can very much relate to what you are saying BenS. Unfortunately RSO`s sell newspapers and keep politicians in a job. We are an easy target and I dont expect that to change any time soon. Just to give heart to others reading this my offence came to light when I was 50+, I am now 60+. and as I said previously I am self employed. I have a partner in work and we manage quite well. I very rarely have to meet my customers face to face (one plus side of the internet) and take satisfaction in my situation when the odds are so very much stacked against you to succeed. A big driver [for me] to prove I could do it. Looking around I do see lots of people going around being self employed i.e a guy who rents a small plot of land and valets cars, he always seems to have work. I suspect some company's and businesses now use him. We could do with a simple listing of ideas to help ex-offenders get started. I think that would be useful.



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As for experience at the Job Centre, I found the task workers themselves to be friendly and sympathetic. They know RSOs are unemployable but they do their best and try to make you feel human. I now work for myself and my job is online (writing-related).

As for the secretarial/reception staff who deal with scheduling meetings, it's the total opposite. They literally think they own you, and that going for a 5-minute weekly appointment to sign on is more important that anything else in your life. Chemotherapy session? Move it. Important hospital procedure where you would have to wait another 6 months if you can't make it? Go to the next slot in 6 months then. Father's funeral? Screwed up face, acting as if you've made an absolutely unacceptable request, then "OK, as an exception, I'll let you change your appointment. But this can't become the norm." Then as you're walking out the door, they say, at a normal volume clearly audible to others, "Make sure you bring a death certificate next time as proof of death" - saying the last word "death" while doing the "quotation marks" gesture with their hands, as if you're lying to them. So those people on the scheduling end are pure and utter scum, an inferior species. This has happened to me. How I would have loved to go public and complain to the press or whatever, but being an RSO, that fact about me would have come out.

As for the general attitude/extreme caution regarding RSOs who have committed non-contact offences, it's clearly frustrating. You can embezzle millions of pounds, beat someone to within an inch of their life, kill a family through dangerous driving, and you can get onto job schemes/interviews and explain the situation with remorse and get the job. But if you have viewed one image on a computer screen, you are less trustworthy than any of the above.
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Last Month by BenS
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Airlane - 28 Mar 18 4:33 PM
My most recent experiences are pretty similar to others' here. I've been out of prison since January 2017. At first, the advisors had me attending various workshops and job fairs. Now, my main advisor realises that finding a job for an ex-SO aged 52 is a task for Superwoman, not her, although she is friendly and sympathetic. These days, my fortnightly visits are over in two minutes. Perhaps there should be a unique state benefit for ex-SOs: "unemployable due to societal prejudice". My last job ended in 2010 but I'd love to work; I have postgraduate qualifications and experience to match, but I'm resigned to never working again. The Salvation Army wouldn't even let me volunteer in their kitchens, helping to provide lunches for elderly people. Unlike Derek Arnold with the British Legion, their excuse was that if the public got to know I was there, the Army's reputation would suffer. Thanks for that.

My local library barred me from a poetry group that was attended solely by elderly people on the grounds that there might be "vulnerable people" present. As my offence solely involved computer pictures of the obvious kind, I failed to see what reasonable threat I posed, but their "public protection officer" had made a ruling and that was it.

Reintegration is a utopian ideal. It is not for the likes of us.

I went down the route of trying to volunteer too with no results and only rejections. Unfortunately with an offence involving anything that requires you to be on a register whether it's contact based or not people will always err on the side of caution. I'd like to volunteer even if it's something like litter picking in a local beauty spot but people are so fearful and often jump to conclusions which are based primarily on fear, plus if anything did go wrong then they get hell to pay from the higher ups in whatever organisation they are in so if i put myself in their position i can understand.

People often say SO's can't be rehabilitated but if society isn't prepared to help provide some of those opportunities where someone can grow to become a better individual then the same patterns will keep repeating. Not everyone is going to have the same level of determination to change or the correct level of thinking to re-educate themselves, some do need to be pushed and i think things like 'appropriate' charity work can be a good thing. I'm lucky that i have age on my side so i'm able to graft on building sites but if i was in my 50's then I would find it extremely difficult to eek out a living, it would have to be self employed or you would have to be extremely lucky.

In my opinion self employed is the only way forward and keeping your cards close to your chest. I don't get involved with people where i work except the standard banter and small talk.

We have to go the extra mile with new people to earn their trust and respect which is why often the 'hi i'm a SO can i work for you' doesn't go down very well, i reckon if you got to know someone who did charity work, helped them out from time to time they may start to trust you and be preprared to vouch for you if you wanted to volunteer .

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I had a 30 year career in engineering but I quickly found that I could not interest anyone in employing me at all, even at a skill level way below what I was qualified for so I decided to work for my self in a totally different vocation. I had little skill set in my new field and learnt as I went along but it has been rewarding and after working for so long for an employer I find working for myself quite refreshing. I am not bothered now by the PPU at all.
This venture has not only given me direction  it has restored my self esteem greatly. Didn't we used to be thought of as a nation of shop keepers (not my chosen path) , as a people who worked for themselves. Its not easy I grant but well worth it in the long run if not for any other reason than to be free of the many hurdles put in our path.
Whilst serving my sentence I was chatting to one of the more forward thinking members of staff about the inmate career training on offer at the HMP I was at and he admitted that a good proportion of the trades being taught there would probably not help in securing a job post release (PPU opposition for one thing), a great tragedy to offer false hope.
Its a pity that employers who are open minded cannot get better involved pre release to offer a chance of gainful employment in an adverse or even hostile sector. 
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My most recent experiences are pretty similar to others' here. I've been out of prison since January 2017. At first, the advisors had me attending various workshops and job fairs. Now, my main advisor realises that finding a job for an ex-SO aged 52 is a task for Superwoman, not her, although she is friendly and sympathetic. These days, my fortnightly visits are over in two minutes. Perhaps there should be a unique state benefit for ex-SOs: "unemployable due to societal prejudice". My last job ended in 2010 but I'd love to work; I have postgraduate qualifications and experience to match, but I'm resigned to never working again. The Salvation Army wouldn't even let me volunteer in their kitchens, helping to provide lunches for elderly people. Unlike Derek Arnold with the British Legion, their excuse was that if the public got to know I was there, the Army's reputation would suffer. Thanks for that.

My local library barred me from a poetry group that was attended solely by elderly people on the grounds that there might be "vulnerable people" present. As my offence solely involved computer pictures of the obvious kind, I failed to see what reasonable threat I posed, but their "public protection officer" had made a ruling and that was it.

Reintegration is a utopian ideal. It is not for the likes of us.
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Thanks for the feedback. What this all implies is that, as usual, dealing with civil servants and government departments is very much a postcode lottery. It also shows how little real help there is for the likes of us. No matter what direction I take, I can never get a positive direction for any advice I request. There is no funding for training, there is nothing that can be done about discrimination in the workplace and so on.

I can relate to "Outsourced" posting. I applied to The British Legion and was invited for an interview. I knew I was going to deal with face-to-face situations so I disclosed my record. The interview was promptly cancelled and I was told they had a duty to their 'vulnerable clients'. While I can understand their position, their clients are invariably veterans of war and more capable than most.

The worst aspect of this tale is that whilst at HMP Ford, one of the work options is in the Injection Moulding 'factory' where all the plastic components for millions of poppies are produced and assembled together with the paper flower, by hand by prisoners. Now it strikes me that these double standards should be investigated and reviewed, if we're good enough to carry out the mundane donkey work, then our labours should be valued anywhere within the organisation.

So many serving prisoners exit the prison each day to carry out work with local charities, take care of the needs of severely disabled and potentially vulnerable youngsters and adults. The rates of success are, quite simply, impressive yet such successes never get reported and never form part of the entire rehabilitation process. Whilst an offender is outside the prison there is, of course, an expectation that they should conform to all regulations imposed upon them - it is a constant process subject to continual scrutiny.

Offenders work hard to prove themselves, often under extremely adverse conditions. The expectations on them are a huge weight and responsibility; far more than on any other employee or volunteer and with only a very few exceptions, offenders come through with flying colours. Yet no matter how much effort they put in, there are no rewards for them other than a personal satisfaction.

The inequity is endless and any success on the part of an offender, instead of being applauded, is taken by the establishment as their own while any failure - even if attributed to the system - is laid squarely at the feet of the offender. The fact that there are successes to report is nothing short of miraculous, especially as those successes are achieved within a completely negative environment.
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Outsourced - 21 Mar 18 12:42 AM
I find DWP friendly and professional. They know that they have nothing to offer and don't give grief for fun. 

That said. I was sent to one of those mandatory  payment by results outfits and a whole different story. While on JSA i applied and was offered the area manager post on the new fangled programme right up until that unspent conviction......... 

So an over qualified 'client' was sat in front of an 'advisor' having been told your conviction makes you unsuitable to work in the building but fine to be part of the project. 

You can guess how difficult life for that provider was set to become. 


Well, I've found DWP professional at every stage, but not necessarily friendly. I wouldn't call my work coach friendly, but I also wouldn't complain about her. Other members of staff have shown a more friendly and supportive attitude, though.
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I find DWP friendly and professional. They know that they have nothing to offer and don't give grief for fun. 

That said. I was sent to one of those mandatory  payment by results outfits and a whole different story. While on JSA i applied and was offered the area manager post on the new fangled programme right up until that unspent conviction......... 

So an over qualified 'client' was sat in front of an 'advisor' having been told your conviction makes you unsuitable to work in the building but fine to be part of the project. 

You can guess how difficult life for that provider was set to become. 


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Diogenese - 20 Mar 18 11:58 AM
I would usually not have a good word for the DWP but being one of the great unwashed ex-resident of HMPS, and now relying on benefits in the great outdoors, I am pleased to say that my JCP adviser is sympathetic to my situation in having an additional barrier to finding work.

There are so many horror stories in opposition to my experience, I was wondering how others have been dealt with by staff at the JCP?

Care to share your experiences?


I received absolutely no help whatsoever, couldn't have been less helpful or concerned . I came out of the place feeling humiliated and wondering why I went in in the first place.
 "No I didn't qualify for any allowance or any sort of financial help and if you want to look for a job go online".
I dont believe in the rehab fairy
Edited
Last Month by CC
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I would usually not have a good word for the DWP but being one of the great unwashed ex-resident of HMPS, and now relying on benefits in the great outdoors, I am pleased to say that my JCP adviser is sympathetic to my situation in having an additional barrier to finding work.

There are so many horror stories in opposition to my experience, I was wondering how others have been dealt with by staff at the JCP?

Care to share your experiences?


GO


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