Profile – Bobby Cummines


By Josephine Hocking

Bobby Cummines is chief executive of charity Unlock, the national association of ex-offenders.

Bobby Cummines  
Cummines: No regrets
How long in the job? Five years.

Career highlight: Being appointed specialist adviser to the judge on the public inquiry into the murder of Zahid Mubarek at Feltham Young Offender Institution. Also being adviser to home affairs select committee on rehabilitation of prisoners.

Career low point: Reading statistics on deaths in prison.

Best training: Time in prison.

I didn’t get where I am today by: Listening to those who said it couldn’t be done.

I wish I had: More government support.

Over the course of my career I wish I hadn’t: I have no regrets.

I applied for my current job because: I wanted to fight for my people’s rights and dignity.

Best move I’ve made: Getting insurance and mortgage services for our members, which can be difficult for ex-offenders to find.

Most inspiring influence: Sir David Ramsbotham, former chief inspector of prisons and president of Unlock.

Most painful lesson I’ve learnt at work: All that is needed to be achieved will not happen in my lifetime, no matter how hard I work.

Me and my career:

At the age of 16 I was convicted and sent to prison for possession of a sawn-off shotgun. I then spent 13 of the next 20 years in prison for various serious offences, including manslaughter and bank robbery and at one time was classed as one of Britain’s most dangerous men.

I decided to go straight after being released from prison in 1988 and after undertaking various menial jobs I returned to education and gained a university degree.

Five years ago I founded Unlock, the national association of ex-offenders to help former prisoners overcome social exclusion and discrimination and end the cycle of re-offending.

I work in partnership with statutory and voluntary agencies within the criminal justice system, along with the private sector as well as with young people who are at risk of offending, or already on anti-social behaviour orders.


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