An ex-prisoner who was hired and promoted by Timpson as a shop manager has slammed Boris Johnson’s announcement that antisocial offenders will be made to wear high viz jackets whilst they do community service.
Jack Twigg, 30, from Greater Manchester, told The London Economic he does not agree with the prime minister “at all”, and that community work is not there to “highlight” that offenders are serving a punishment.
“You are not in prison, you are a member of the society. If you have been to prison, you have done what you needed to do.
“It’s another punishment, you don’t need that on top of the punishment you were given,” he told TLE.
How Jack ended up in prison
Nothing prepared Jack for ending up in prison.
He told TLE he has never been in criminal circles, and that he comes from a “really good family”.
His mum worked high up in the NHS, and his dad is a property developer and a driving instructor by trade.
He had a good education, and he went to university. He trained in construction engineering management and was promoted to being a prison security officer after working for a prison for a year.
He noted what followed had a really ‘strange’ mix of his and his parents’ professions.
“I started having mental health problems in my late teens.
“When I was 24, I went away for my prison officer training and I crashed my car.
“I had a mental health breakdown with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and I had drank and had a breakdown that evening.
“I can’t even remember it, I woke up in the hospital. I put my foot down on the wrong side of the road, the car crash was caused by me, there was another driver injured and that led to a prison sentence.”
The accident happened in May 2016, and Jack was in prison between February and December 2017.
Life in prison
When he was in prison, what stuck with him is that “people in there are just people”.
He said: “A lot of people have done mistakes, they didn’t harm anyone.
“They have made a mistake just like I did.”
He said that everything else is what he “was used to from working in a prison”.
He added: “There was violence but it’s nothing that shocking, there were things that I have seen before working in a prison.
“If we’d be playing football, at the end there would be pushing and shoving on the stairs.”
Life after prison
When he came out of prison, he did a couple of jobs for a friend, but he had to have an arm operation which meant he had to stop doing manual work.
Jack told TLE he was then being rejected from jobs for a long time because of his criminal record, without even being asked what the criminal record was for.
“It was just an instruction that I would not be accepted,” he recalls.
He remembers applying for a “very simple job” in radio communications which he had the highest qualifications for, but was told he “did not have enough experience”.
He added: “They should have just told me the truth, which is, ‘you have a criminal record’.
“It took me more than a year to find what I needed, a steady job for my family, but I was getting rejected at every turn.”
He started working as a trainee for Timpson last October, a role which he thinks “changed his life”.
“It was exactly what I wanted to do. It’s a good company with good morals, the staff and the office are brilliant, I took the opportunity with both hands,” he said.
He was doing various roles around a shop. “When you are deemed good enough you may or may not be offered your own shop.
“I said I wanted to be a shop manager so I just did what I needed to do, I turned up on time and did my best,” he added.
From April this year, he was offered a promotion as a branch manager, which means he runs his own shop.
He said: “Since I found out what I was a manager, it’s been a positive experience, it was part of a fresh start. It’s been challenging, but on the whole it’s been very positive. I have enjoyed the challenge.”