7 ways offenders can be rehabilitated without professional football

Since his release from prison following the rape of a 19-year-old woman, Ched Evans has been linked with a number of professional football clubs.

Following the latest interest - that of Oldham Athletic - the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), Gordon Taylor, said that "[Evans] has served his time and the job of society is to look to rehabilitate" - i.e. allow him to play football again.

Evans served two and a half years of a five year sentence in prison and is now on licence while he sees out the rest of the five year term. While Evans's website has maintained his innocence, the woman he raped has been forced to change her identity five times after being tracked down by internet trolls.

A petition, signed by 24,000 people in less than 24 hours and aimed at Oldham's owner, states:

We do believe he has the right to work. We believe that it does not have to be in a role where he influences views about sexual violence, and his presence on your pitch will do this.

If football clubs are so concerned about rehabilitating offenders, here are some schemes they could support:

1. Team Greaves boxing gym

A former professional boxer who spent 18 months in prison, Marvin Greaves set up a boxing gym in Oldham which offers training sessions to offenders.

By releasing aggression in the gym and being taught about "respect, confidence and discipline" by the coaches there, Greaves says many offenders have been able to turn their lives around.

2. Oldham Work Club Network

After being made redundant during the recession, Richard Outram set up the Oldham Work Club Network to help jobseekers - including ex-convicts - write CVs, search for jobs and get interview advice.

Completely run by volunteers, 12 clubs were set up in the network's first 12 months.

3. SOTP Core

SOTP core helps offenders understand why they committed sexual offences and what that harm has done to their victims.

It is part of a nationwide scheme run by the government which helps to rehabilitate sexual offenders and reduce the risk of re-offending.

4. Kainos Community

This charity runs rehabilitation schemes in three prisons: HMP Stocken, HMP Guys Marsh and HMP Haverigg.

In a 24-week intensive programme, Kainos aims to reduce the risk of re-offending through therapeutic sessions and is partly facilitated by former prisoners who have been through the scheme.

5. A Band of Brothers

This scheme, aimed at men - because men account for 9 out of 10 people found guilty for indictable offences - uses mentoring and strong male role models to help stop those disenfranchised with society from offending or re-offending.

The charity cites an 80 per cent reduction in re-offending rates among those on their scheme who had previously been convicted.

6. Women offenders' scheme

A series of schemes supported by the Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company offers intensive sessions for female offenders.

The programme helps the women get access to further education, get access to healthcare providers, offers cooking and food tasting sessions and gives counselling to those with drug and alcohol problems.

7. Millwall Community Trust

This wide-ranging scheme run by Millwall FC provides food parcels to those in need, sends ambassadors to schools to warn children about drugs and, crucially, offers ex-offenders opportunities as coaches.

For other rehabilitation programmes, visit the HM Prison Service's Offender Behaviour Programme homepage here.

More:Petition against Oldham signing Ched Evans one of the fastest-growing ever

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