Approximately half of all Victorian prison leavers are released into homelessness, and just one in five will secure employment. These problems are often interlinked and exacerbated by other issues including lack of employability skills, poor mental health, and addiction.

Many people leaving the criminal justice system want to work but need a willing employer and intensive support to tackle the problems that can make holding a down a job so difficult.

Research shows that being unemployed for a year nearly halves a person’s chances of ever working again, illustrating the urgency of assisting people who are about to emerge from prison into a difficult labour market.

Our solution

Second Chance Jobs is a ground-breaking project to link people with a 'job at the prison gate'. The program works with people up to a year before their release, connects them to a supportive and willing employer and walks alongside them for a year post-release. The program sits within the Corrections Victoria Employment Pathways Hubs within the prisons.

The success of this program will rely on a number of important social changes, especially the rise of values-driven employers and the Victorian Government’s Social Procurement Framework, which now requires government contractors to meet a number of benchmarks, including the employment of “disadvantaged Victorians” such as people leaving prison.

The impact

By assisting people leaving prison into jobs, the program will provide immediate income and stable housing, and create an environment where prison leavers can develop stronger ties with their families, live fulfilling pro-social lives, and become active members of their communities. Research also shows that the kinds of higher-wage work opportunities envisaged by Second Chance Jobs produce statistically significant reductions in recidivism.

This solution will also help society as a whole: more than three-quarters of people leaving prison rely on Centrelink payments, and approximately 44 per cent return to custody within two years. This re-imprisonment costs more than $170,000 per year.

PwC Business Case

How we work

Vacro will provide up to two years’ support, beginning in custody and continuing in the community. Each employer is offered training and ongoing assistance to ensure that they are ready to work collaboratively with their new employees.  We are currently working in Loddon, Middleton, Marngoneet and Kareenga corrrectional facilities and providing case management in Melbourne and Geelong.

The program has three elements:

1. Prepare participants to be job-ready:

The Work Ready Facilitator (WRF) will prepare participants pre-release to be job ready through work readiness assessment and planning up to 12 months pre-release.

2. Job matching and employer support:

Employers will be supported from identification of candidates, to interview and employment, tailoring a work integration plan for each new employee.

3. Provide integration support:

The Employment case manager will walk alongside the participant and their employer for up to 12 months post-release to resolve potential problems/barriers jointly (including housing) to ensure that the experience is both sustainable and mutually beneficial.

More information

For more information, please contact Glenn Broome, Second Chance Jobs Manager at [email protected]

Fact Sheet for Employers


Second Chance Jobs is jointly funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and the Department of Justice & Community Safety.