Britain’s new prisons minister is a multimillionaire heir who hires ex-offenders

Britain’s new left-leaning Labour government is looking to the business world to tackle the growing problem of prisons. And the man they want to lead the rehabilitation effort is the boss of Timpson, a company known for employing ex-offenders.

James Timpson runs a nationwide chain of key-cutting, shoe repair and dry-cleaning and laundry services. He was appointed Minister for Prisons, Parole and Probation under Sir Keir Starmer’s new government.

Timpson’s Prison Policy

It is not uncommon for customers at these stores, which can be found on high streets, shopping centres and supermarket car parks across the UK, to be served by an ex-convict.

Timpson, chief executive since 2002 and working alongside his father, John, introduced the company’s policy of hiring ex-offenders.

The practice is said to have started after Timpson visited a prison the same year he took up the top job. Timpson encountered a young prisoner His name was Matt and he was so impressed that he offered him the job.

Matt has become one of Timpson’s most successful branch managers, the CEO said.

Timpson currently employs more than 600 “prison leavers”, making up around 10% of its workforce. The CEO was also chairman of the Prison Reform Trust until his appointment as prisons minister.

If Timpson can inject a little magic into the role, it could be a boon to the UK’s prison system, not to mention the wider social fabric and public finances of the UK.

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer said he hired Timpson for the role because he “walks the talk”. But he will need to prove that quickly, with prison chiefs warning that prisons are running out of space.

An outspoken advocate of rehabilitation, Timpson may be one of the most progressive pastors to ever hold the role.

Speaking to Channel 4 Earlier this year, Timpson said the UK justice system was “addicted to punishment”, adding that only a third of current prisoners were “definitely” going to jail.

UK recidivism rate has fallen over the past decade but remains around 25%. Unemployment and financial problems, as well as homelessness and mental health problems,

Timpson said the retention rate for colleagues recruited from prison or with criminal records was 75%, indicating low reoffending rates.

Meet Timpsons

Timpson and his family were reported to be worth £210 million ($269 million) in 2019, according to Sunday Times Rich List.

His grandfather and founder of Timpson, William, was fired from the company in 1973 after the company was acquired by EDS Group. James’ father, John, became managing director of the company in 1975 and went on to lead a £42 million management buyout of the company in 1982.

The company, which remains wholly owned by Timpson and his family,

The family paid for themselves. biggest dividend in March worth £16.6 million ($21.3 million) after a surge in sales.

His parents shared Timpson’s sense of public duty. John and his wife, Alex, adopted two of their five children and, over 31 years, fostered 90 others.

Alex Timpson received his MBA in 2006 for services to children and families. John was knighted for his services in 2017, after his wife passed away.


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