A Second Chance


Produced with Rex Entertainment, BAFTA award-winning director Rex Bloomstein’s feature length documentary about the importance of work in the rehabilitation of offenders.

A SECOND CHANCE has screened in over 20 cinemas across the UK as well as prisons, universities and other institutions.


Film synopsis:

This is a film about hope.

The hope experienced by prisoners who, written off by society, have been thrown a lifeline and offered a path away from criminality and back towards redemption and normality.

At its heart it confronts stereotypes and public perceptions of ‘The Offender’ by presenting both serving and ex-prisoners as real people with real problems. Crime can ruin lives – of the victims, of course, but also of the perpetrators who not only have to deal with their own feelings of guilt, but are also then stigmatised by society, making it difficult for them to recover from what they have done, even after they have completed their sentence. Lacking support, many inevitably re-offend.

The vicious cycle of re-offending rates is an urgent story of our time. The figures are stark.

Almost two thirds of those released from the UK’s prisons are convicted of another crime within 12 months if they fail to find a job – 50 per cent more than those who do find work. Re-offending costs the UK tax-payer an estimated £15 billion a year. And yet the vast majority of employers openly admit they will not employ an ex-offender.

There are exceptions.

Embedded in a number of UK prisons are training academies run by Timpson, a leading high street retailer specialising in shoe repairs, key cutting and engraving, as well as photo processing through its subsidiary, Max Spielmann.

Timpson have forged new ideas in the recruitment of ex-offenders and now employ over 600 up and down the country. Their pioneering prison academies offer hope in exchange for hard work to a selection of inmates coming to the end of their sentences. All are fascinating because of the challenge to prisoners, both career criminals and first timers, to seize this opportunity to change the course of their lives.

This 90-minute feature documentary accompanies two serving prisoners on their journeys through this unique training programme – each with a genuine chance of employment on their release, if – and it is if – they don’t mess up the opportunity.

These journeys are punctuated by encounters with four former prisoners, now Timpson and Max Spielmann employees, who have embraced the world of work and are now living normally outside the walls.

These are vignettes of real lives, we see them at home and at work, interacting with customers and taking pride in their jobs. Reflecting on their own journeys from criminality to hard graft and an honest wage, they delve into their backgrounds, their crimes and their regrets; their experiences in prison and how they grasped the opportunity to re-train. They relive the crucial moments that transformed their lives – those moments that led to hope, change and ultimately to redemption.

A SECOND CHANCE is a unique glimpse of lives regained. Instead of simply presenting the familiar bleak universe of the prison system, this is a film that documents the transformative power of work for those who want to change; the importance of employment as well as of forgiveness and remorse.


Selected reviews:

At a time when the prison system is in meltdown and reformers in despair, [A Second Chance] offers a glimpse of hope and inspiration and, above all, shows what can and should be done if we are to make headway in the battle against reoffending… This absorbing film sends the message out – quietly but clearly. The prime minister would do well to listen. 

For further information visit the film’s web site here.