With 52% of prisoners re-offending after their release, Brian O’Connell investigated a company that aims to lower this number by giving former inmates a job and a chance. Limerick City Build is based on a Glasgow model that provides people from challenging backgrounds with employment, as Brian explained to Sean O’Rourke.
“For example, if somebody has a business idea, this could be anything Sean from washing windows to home insulation or say, for example, they want to learn a trade. They ‘re given space, physical space, they’re given support around legal and accountancy services. They’re given training and then when they get to a certain level, the only rule is you have to take on someone that Limerick City Build puts forward… maybe somebody who has come out of prison or somebody from one of the socially disadvantaged areas. A lot of times when prisoners come out of prison we know that they go on to courses that may be totally unsuitable for them and there probably isn’t a job at the end of it so this is different. There’s a job at the end of this for everybody who engages.”
Brian spoke to Mark Kennedy, Governor of Limerick Prison.
“The only real way to keep someone from coming back to prison is that they have support in the community, from their family and they actually get employment. Not just employment for the sake of employment, that they actually have a job that they feel is worthwhile, it’s a paid job and they’re giving back to the community and that’s the glue that keeps them out.”
Mark told Brian about the recent success the prison has had in hired ex-prisoners for renovation jobs and described the work as “top class”.
Catherine O’Halloran, manager at Limerick City Build described the success that a number of start-ups have had in a range of areas including home insulation, boat building and even one developing heated outdoor benches.
“Lads that would come in with zero skills at all would be able to learn those skills in real world situations so that would be on the site, on the job. One of our most successful start-ups is now employing 9 sometime 12 people.”
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