Co.Create

U.K. Charity Encourages Empathy for Ex-Cons in Interactive Ad

A PSA from U.K. charity Business in the Community illustrates the degree of prejudice against the previously incarcerated (mind the auto-play).

(Note: apologies for the auto-play. Click the video to stop).

When it comes to looking for a job, there are countless advice articles written on how to cultivate your online brand. Having a polished LinkedIn account is as important as having a tight CV. Prospective employers will survey your Twitter account. And gaps in the resume that don’t involve headers such as “Consulting” or “Freelance” are viewed with suspicion. Having these digital ducks in a row is imperative when job-hunting so as to avoid silent judgment that precludes one from being called for an interview, advise the experts.

This is all well and good for those on an upward career trajectory. But what about those who are simply trying to right the wrongs of their past and land on their feet? Like ex-inmates. An interactive PSA from U.K. charity Business in the Community aims to illustrate the degree of prejudice the previously incarcerated face when trying to reintegrate into productive society.

Second Chance, directed by Dougal Wilson, starts with a beleaguered but hopeful man telling an interviewer how he feels positive about his prospects post-prison. It’s been hard, he says, but he’s looking forward to proving that he’s got a lot to offer. A few seconds into the spot a typical “Skip Ad” button appears. But instead of skipping ahead to different content, the PSA continues with increasingly despondent tones from the interviewee and the message that it takes less than 30 seconds to write off an offender and implores employers to give convicts a second chance. The spot is in support of the “Ban the Box” campaign, which encourages employers to rid job applications of the criminal record disclosure box.

However, not all viewers are so quick to judge. Those not immediately conditioned to skip the ad and hear the man’s story through to the end are rewarded with his heartfelt gratitude, effectively demonstrating that opting to listen to someone--and ultimately give them a chance--can have a positive effect on an individual’s life.

Watch the ad below (rollover to view video controls).

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2 Comments

  • Jonathan Lehman

    Thank you for drawing attention to this issue. I spent 3.5 years incarcerated for a narcotics possession. It was only after I fabricated a verifiable history and lied about my record that I found employment. Individuals who have spent considerable time in prisons are either very insightful and eager, or institutionalized. It all depends on whether they used the time, or the time used them

  • switcheroo

    Autoplay videos on my RSS feed make me want to /unsubscribe. I had to scroll for 5 mins just to find the post.