London Mayor Encourages Employment for Former Offenders

LONDON — London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, is urging construction bosses to employ juvenile ex-offenders for projects in the city.

The Mayor is ensuring jobs with the Greater London Authority’s construction projects and wants to see more programs like the Olympic Delivery Authority’s pilot program, which is providing work placements for up to 60 ex-offenders on the Olympic Park.

“Ex-offenders deserve a second chance to turn their lives around and make an honest living,” Johnson said. “I’m asking the construction sector to get on board and offer our young people real opportunities on the abundance of exciting construction contracts we have in the capitol.”

Transport for London, the governing body responsible for transportation in the city, is currently negotiating up to 60 job placements with construction firms involved in the Shard, which will be the tallest building in Europe, as well as Tube modernization programs over the next year, for ex-offenders.

The mayor’s office also worked with the Prince’s Trust, Probation Service, and training organizations to design the “Get Into Construction” training program for former juvenile offenders. Participants were screened to ensure they were motivated and engaged.

“In these tough economic times it is hard for everyone out of work, but teenagers with criminal records often hit a brick wall,” Johnson said. “For every person we keep out of the prison system we potentially save tax payers £50,000 [$81,070] a year.”

The average cost of a bed in a young offenders institution in England is $95,662 per year. Diverting 200 young offenders away from additional sentences could potentially save $19 million per year, according to the mayor’s office.