A video produced by London training organisation, Red Kite Learning, has been produced, working with Inside Job Productions. Red Kite Learning describe the film as: “An innovative, interactive drama which aims to follow through the consequences of choices made by ex-offenders when looking for employment. The film is based on the engaging story of one man’s journey and the impact on his family, where the viewer can decide which course of action they want the main character to take at a number of critical points.” Here’s what you thought…

“I would say that it does achieve what it says it wants to – thinking about options and their consequences. As such it could be useful to people in thinking about the situation they are in and the potential impact of relevant choices. I found it easy to watch and thought provoking.” – Sententia

“It highlights the difficulties anyone with convictions has. It’s a complete no hope situation and very depressing to watch but clearly demonstrates to the public how frustrating it all is, and proves you’re doomed if you do and doomed if you don’t! No one is going to employ this bloke with just one conviction so what chance does a bloke have with 4 pages of convictions over the past 25 years? How would you be able to go through each one at a job interview! I’m thinking on the lines of a riot van with a load of coppers outside waiting in anticipation? Having said that if they knew your past you would not even get the interview. ” – Peter

“I don’t really know what to make of it. Like Peter said, you’re doomed if you do and doomed if you don’t. I started my new job 2 days before I was convicted, so strictly speaking I didn’t lie about convictions in the application. I suppose you could say I misled my current employer though, but where do you draw the line?” – Jono-gt6

“The video brings out a sad state of affairs. Once you get a criminal record you become a class two human being. Disclose upfront and pray and hope somebody has a heart and gives you a chance. This chance is not based on what you can do in terms of skills. It is based on the pity or philanthropic mind of anybody that holds the key to the door. It touches a raw nerve, it gives you a reality check, it tells you – ‘Dear ex-criminal, you are at the mercy of not only the elements but every other human you will encounter going forward.’ It also highlights how your personal life can be destroyed forever. Even your own wife and kids will not want you if you cannot bring home vitamin M. It’s a tragic story played over different scenarios.” RG

“I’m not an ex-offender, but the wife is one. I did watch with interest as I was caught on the other side of disclosing that my husband was inside – long and short, I lost my job. I’ve been in new job now for nearly one year and only just the other day decided to tell colleagues that my husband was inside. Now, interesting video. But what I thought was strange was his tone that totally changed when he decided not to disclose until the interview. He became defensive, dismissive about his crime, I almost felt that was the reason for his non-employment. That aside, it was very thought provoking – for ex-offender AND potential employer. It does demonstrate that it’s going to be tough, but I suppose the big voice in the background is shouting – ‘admit your crime, disclose and all will be well’. The sad fact is that you will probably take double, treble the time to find employment if you do. If ex-offenders were given meaningful training in how to find work when they come out (and I don’t just mean how to fill out a form). This, in conjunction with the video, would be a huge help. To re-frame your offence into an experience you learned from, to be able to discuss what you did, how you’ve changed, would be really helpful. But, big but, only if you managed to get to the interview stage. It’s a knotty issue presented in a rather black and white version. Be good, tell the truth and all will be well. Hmmmm, if only society was that forgiving.” – Ottomummy

“No offence to Red Kite (who interestingly have just lost the contract where I am as a provider of employment advice to those on Probation) but this video’s message is crap. The cynic in me has to ask the question ‘qui bono’ (who benefits) as far as this video is concerned? Not the exoffender that’s for sure. As has been intimated, it’s bad enough for those with a single conviction for shoplifting that happened years ago. If you disclose (especially in this climate where employers have lots of ‘law-abiding’ people to choose from) then 999 times out of 1000 you’re not going to get anywhere. As an employer, you’d have to have had a pretty dubious batch of candidates to be considering an exoffender! So who does benefit? Well, the moment the offender gets a job, providers like Red Kite have one less client. One less reason for the state to pay taxpayers money to them. Yeah well, maybe I’m being too cynical. Never attribute to malice, that which can be attributed to incompetence. Have to say, that video made me pretty angry. It just looked like propaganda, not useful advice. One thing I should say is that I have no evidence for the above other than my own view of the film and a bit of (maybe overly cynical) logic. It is just a opinion and may well not reflect reality.” – SouthernChap

To view the film, click here.

 

Reviews taken from issue 14 of theRecord.

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