This essay will explore the case study of Ryan, firstly, looking into how the lack of education can affect a person when trying to begin a career. Secondly, researching into how becoming involved with drugs can lead to an addiction. Furthermore, how these addictions can have an impact on a person's behaviour and emotional control, followed by the different drug treatment programmes that are available for offenders while they are in prison. Thirdly, looking into how both of these issues can lead to being homeless and inquire into what an offender can do while in prison to try and gain or keep accommodation for when they are released. Finally, concluding how each of these issues can have a discriminating effect on a person, with a background such as Ryan's.
'Employment is believed to reduce offending by a third and a half, however more than half of offenders do not have a job' (Local Government Association (LGA), 2006). This seems to be the issue with Ryan, as at an early age Ryan got involved with the wrong group of friends, and spent most of his time at his local arcade rather than being at school. At just 15 years old he left school early leaving him with no qualifications, which according to a report by the Ministry of Justice (2008) seems to be a reoccurring situation as they discovered that 89% of males left school aged 15 before examinations and that and that 52% of male adults have no qualifications. From having no qualifications and a lack of skills Ryan struggled in his plastering course, falling behind to the point where he left, therefore still leaving him with no qualifications, no skills and no job. This can also be referred to the Ministry of Justice report (2008) where they found that half of all offenders do not have the skills for 96% of jobs.
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While in prison, Ryan could have gained information about The National Offender Management Service (NOMS), which according to Fletcher (2010) is an organisation to help offenders find educational and training opportunities that can help them to gain qualifications and skills needed to gain a job. Organisations such as NOMS can have a huge impact on a offender such as Ryan's life, as according to the Howard League report (2006), out of all the young men they interviewed in prison, who were asked, what would help them
to stop committing crime, 55% said being in employment would help.
Ministry of Justice (2008) also found during their research that 67% of prisoners had been in paid employment during the 12 months before custody. However when asked, 18% of these had lost their jobs as a result of being in prison. Furthermore the 33% of prisoners who were unemployed before custody, 16% said it was because of their previous criminal record that they could not get a job, 14% said it was because of drug or alcohol addiction, 12% said it was because of the lack of skills/qualifications, 10% said it was because they had problems with stable accommodation and 5% said it was because of health problems.
Ryan is known to take illicit drugs, but he denies that he is drug dependant; as explained by Cyprus (2010) drug dependency is when a person has an uncontrollable physical or psychological need for a substance which has a traumatic effect on their health, emotions and their general day to day activities. In Ryan's situation he does seem to be having emotional changes, possibly anger and aggression which could have a link with his offence of assault, while drunk and perhaps on drugs. Ryan is clearly in denial, if he came out of this denial and faced his issues; he could have become involved, while in prison, in the CARAT (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Through-care) scheme. HM Prison Service (2004) provided the information that the CARAT scheme was designed to increase the support available to drug using prisoners, both during custody and on release. It gives prisoners the chance to have one-to-one discussions with a CARAT worker or if preferred group work, it gives them the chance to receive information about the effects of the drugs they are taking and if they choose to they help them to give up or cut down on their misusing. A CARAT worker can also refer the prisoner to a drug treatment programme if they thought it would benefit the prisoner and if the prisoner agreed to do so.
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There are many drug treatment programmes available for those prisoners who seek help, such as the Drug Treatment and Testing Order (DTTO) which according to Home Office (2010) began following the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 as a community sentence and began as a solution to the consistent links between drug misuse and repeated offending. With this order the offender must agree to random but frequent drug tests and attend court in order for their progress to be reviewed. However Home Office (2010) discovered that the recorded amount of offenders that actually finished their DTTOs was low, just 30% of 161 offenders finished successfully and 67% of the 161 offenders had their orders revoked. They also found that out of the offenders that had their orders revoked, 91% were reconvicted and of those whom completed their orders 53% were reconvicted.
There is also the Drug Intervention Programme (DIPS), which according to Home Office (2010) was created in order to help stop drug misuse and to reduce drug related crime as drug related crime has fallen by 32% since the programme started it seems to be working. They then stated that following the completion of DIPS, many miss-users have now gone back in the mainstream of society as none users. However this help is only there if the offender wants it, and with Ryan being in denial, he has missed an opportunity to change his ways.
Ryan could have also had the chance to learn and take action on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (RHOA) 1974. According to Home Office (2010), RHOA targets offenders who have received a sentence of two and a half years or less in prison. If the offender does not commit an offence within a certain period, their conviction becomes spent and the offender does not have to reveal their offence to anyone which would be extremely helpful to an offender when applying for jobs. Although in some circumstances when applying for certain types of employment the offender must revel their offence, the two main exceptions are when applying for a jobs that involves working with children or working with the elderly or sick people.
According to Greve (1997) British people have been suffering the consequences of housing costs for many years; many individuals have become homeless because of this, each with their own individual reasons why. In Ryan's case it is due to being unemployed because of the lack of qualifications and skills he has detained throughout his teen years.
A proportion of homeless people may end up in prison after committing crimes in order to survive or to feed their addictions. Many homeless people suffer with drug and alcohol problems, which may contribute to them being homeless or struggling to find accommodation, which seems to be the situation with Ryan. According to The Guardian (2008) half of the people taking part in homeless day centres are ex-offenders, and most of them had multiple problems such as drugs and alcohol addictions.
The HM prison service works alongside organisations such as NACRO and Shelter in order for prisoners' to receive any information they may require about housing. The benefit of the information that is given to prisoners is crucial according to Shelter (2010), who state 'the three main issues commonly experienced by ex-prisoners are; homelessness or insecure housing before sentence, loss of housing whilst in prison and homelessness on release'.
HM Prison Service (2008) provided information about the prisoners information book, which all offenders receive on entering prison, it is provided by the Prison Reform Trust and HM Prison Service, this information indicates that Ryan would have received this book, however he did not seek out any information from it, therefore missing an opportunity to receive information from Shelter on housing and missing the chance to fill out an application housing on release from prison. This would have been very helpful for Ryan's future as according to the LGA (2006) research, having accommodation can help a person such as Ryan from reoffending as they found that stable housing can reduce reoffending by more than 20%.
The Welsh Assembly Government has recently initiated a policy for housing ex offenders which was created in order to help offenders settle back into society. The Policy was as follows; for 'statutory housing authorities to give duties towards the prevention of homelessness; prison, the probation service and youth offending teams give commitment to effective resettlement/rehabilitation and reducing reoffending'. Welsh Assembly Government (2010).
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According to the Howard league report (2006) they found that out of all the young men they interviewed in prison, who were asked, what would help them stop committing crime, 26% said that having a stable place to live would help them to stop.
To conclude; from having a history such as Ryan's, he will find himself in many situations where he may feel he is being discriminated against. Many places of work will not take on a person with a criminal record, and for someone who has an offence of assault, jobs highly involving the public, namely supermarket and retail stores, will not employ someone with the background of assault and offensive behaviour. Also having a reputation of taking or being involved with drug abusers may reach an employer, if not, and Ryan progressed to an interview the employer may grow a suspicion of drug misuse as many drugs can have an impact on a person's physical appearance, depending on the drugs which has been taken. The employer may see marks on Ryan's arms and his face my seem a bit drawn and thin furthermore he may be very sweaty and shaking which may be a sign of withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand it may come up when doing a criminal bureau check, depending on whether or not he has been convicted of being in possession of drugs. Being homeless is also an issue while trying for a job as you must have a permanent address to be registered with national insurance and also to be able to have a bank account, for your wages can get paid into. Therefore, each of these issues are related, a person cannot get employed without having an address, yet a person cannot afford a home without being employed, this is a vicious circle for a person to be in, especially someone with a background such as Ryan's.